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HANS BRINKER 

OR, 

THE SILVER SKATES 




NY PUBLIC LIBRARY THE BRANCH LIBRARIES 



3 3333 08102 1277 






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HANS BRINKER 



TO 
MY FATHER 

JAMES J. MAPES 

THIS LITTLE BOOK 

IS DEDICATED IN GRATITUDE 

AND LOVE 




HANS BRINKER 



OR. 



THE SILVER SKATES 



By 

Mary Mapes Dodge 

Illustrated by 

Magi net Wright Enright 

DAVID McKAY, Publisher 

PHILADELPHIA- MCMXVIII 





I 




Copyright, 1918, hy David McKay 



THE NEW YOrtK 

PUBLIC LIBRARY 



LfeNUX 
TfLOEN FOUNOATWN*. 



77 



P R E FAC E 

THIS little work aims to combine the instructive features 
of a book of travels with the interest of a domestic tale. 
Throughout its pages the descriptions of Dutch locali- 
ties, customs, and general characteristics have been given 
with scrupulous care. Many of its incidents are drawn from 
life, and the story of Raff Brinker is founded strictly upon fact. 
While acknowledging my obligations to many well-known 
writers on Dutch history, literature, and art, I turn with espe- 
cial gratitude to those kind Holland friends who, with gen- 
erous zeal, have taken many a backward glance at their 
country for my sake, seeing it as it looked twenty years ago, 
when the Brinker home stood unnoticed in sunlight and 

shadow. 

Should this simple narrative serve to give my young readers 
a just idea of Holland and its resources, or present true pic- 
tures of its inhabitants and their every-day life, or free them 
from certain current prejudices concerning that noble and en- 
terprising people, the leading desire in writing it will have been 

satisfied. 

Should it cause even 'one 'heart 'to feel a deeper trust in 

> t i * > : , 

God's goodness and love, or aid any in weaving a life wherein, 
through knots and entanglements, "the golden thread shall 
never be tarnished or broken, the prayer with which it was 

begun and ended will have been answered. 

M. M. D. 

[7] 












. 






I L LU ST RATI O NS 



PAOB 



There was not a prouder nor happier boy in old Holland than Hans 
Drinker, as he watched his sister, with many a dexterous sweep, 

fly in and out among the skaters 40 

"But it is Hans who can help Mynheer van Holp this time" 106 

The child pleaded in vain. Dame Brinker would not leave her post. 116 

Gretel's face was pressed to the window. "Can you see anything?" 

whispered Hilda 24-5 

Hour after hour, mother and son worked on 270 

Something whispered to Hans that, for the moment, she was more 

than mortal 28,5 

"We sang together half the time you were gone" 299 

"It was his mother's picture," moaned the doctor 303 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTEB PAOE 

I. HANS AND GRETEL 13 

II. HOLLAND 18 

III. THE SILVER SKATES 28 

IV. HANS AND GRETEL FIND A FRIEND 34 

V. SHADOWS IN THE HOME 42 

VI. SUNBEAMS 50 

VII. HANS HAS HIS WAY 55 

VIH. INTRODUCING JACOB FOOT AND HIS COUSIN 60 

IX. THE FESTIVAL OF SAINT NICHOLAS 67 

X. WHAT THE BOYS SAW AND DID IN AMSTERDAM 77 

XI. BIG MANIAS AND LITTLE ODDITIES 88 

XII. ON THE WAY TO HAARLEM 97 

XHI. A CATASTROPHE 101 

XTV. HANS 105 

XV. HOMES 112 

XVI. HAARLEM. THE BOYS HEAR VOICES 120 

XVII. THE MAN WITH FOUR HEADS 127 

XVIH. FRIENDS IN NEED 133 

XIX. ON THE CANAL 141 

XX. JACOB FOOT CHANGES THE PLAN 148 

XXI. MYNHEER KLEEF AND HIS BILL OF FARE 157 

XXII. THE RED LION BECOMES DANGEROUS 161 

XXIII. BEFORE THE COURT 

XXIV. THE BELEAGUERED CITIES 178 

XXV. LEYDEN * 85 

XXVI. THE PALACE IN THE WOOD 192 

XXVII. THE MERCHANT PRINCE AND THE SISTER-PRINCESS. 195 

XXVIII. THROUGH THE HAGUE 209 

XXIX. A DAY OF REST 217 



CONTENTS 

CIIAPTEB PAOE 

XXX. HOMEWARD BOUND 221 

XXXI. BOYS AND GIRLS 225 

XXXII. THE CRISIS 232 

XXXIII. GRETEL AND HILDA 239 

XXXIV. THE AWAKENING 247 

XXXV. BONES AND TONGUES 2o 1 

XXXVI. A NEW ALARM 2o5 

XXXVII. THE FATHER'S RETURN 260 

XXXVIII. THE THOUSAND GUILDERS 265 

XXXIX. GLIMPSES 271 

XL. LOOKING FOR WORK 276 

XLI. THE FAIRY GODMOTHER 282 

XLII. THE MYSTERIOUS WATCH 288 

XLIII. A DISCOVERY 297 

XLIV. THE RACE 30G 

XLV. JOY IN THE COTTAGE 324 

XLVI. MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF THOMAS HIGGS 333 

XLVII. BROAD SUNSHINE 336 

XLVIII. CONCLUSION. 342 



HANS BRINKER; 

OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

I 

HANS AND GRETEL 

ON a bright December morning long ago, two thinly 
clad children were kneeling upon the bank of a frozen 
canal in Holland. 

The sun had not yet appeared, but the gray sky was parted 
near the horizon, and its edges shone crimson with the com- 
ing day. Most of the good Hollanders were enjoying a placid 
morning nap; even Mynheer von Stoppelnoze, that worthy 
old Dutchman, was still slumbering "in beautiful repose." 

Now and then some peasant woman, poising a well-filled 
basket upon her head, came skimming over the glassy surface 
of the canal; or a lusty boy, skating to his day's work in the 
town, cast a good-natured grimace toward the shivering pair 
as he flew along. 

Meanwhile, with many a vigorous puff and pull, the brother 
and sister, for such they were, seemed to be fastening some- 
thing upon their feet not skates, certainly, but clumsy pieces 
of wood narrowed and smoothed at their lower edge, and 
pierced with holes, through which were threaded strings of 
raw hide. 

These queer looking affairs had been made by the boy 

Hans. His mother was a poor peasant woman, too poor to 

[13] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

even think of such a tiling as buying skates for her little ones. 
Rough as these were, they had afforded the children many 
a happy hour upon the ice; and now, as with cold, red fingers 
our young Hollanders tugged at the strings their solemn 
faces bending closely over their knees no vision of impos- 
sible iron runners came to dull the satisfaction glowing within. 

In a moment the boy arose, and with a pompous swing 
of the arms, and a careless "Come on, Gretel," glided easily 
across the canal. 

"Ah, Hans," called his sister plaintively, "this foot is not 
well yet. The strings hurt me on last Market day; and now 
I cannot bear them tied in the same place." 

"Tie them higher up, then," answered Hans, as without 
looking at her he performed a wonderful cat's-cradle step on 
the ice. 

"How can I? The string is too short." 

Giving vent to a good-natured Dutch whistle, the Eng- 
lish of which was that girls were troublesome creatures, he 
steered towards her. 

"You are foolish to wear such shoes, Gretel, when you have 
a stout leather pair. Your klompen* would be better than 
these." 

" Why, Hans ! Do you forget? The father threw my beau- 
tiful new shoes in the fire. Before I knew what he had done 
they were all curled up in the midst of the burning peat. I 
can skate with these, but not with my wooden ones. Be care- 
ful now 

Hans had taken a string from his pocket. Humming a tune 

* Wooden shoes. 
[14] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

as he knelt beside her, he proceeded to fasten GretePs skate 
with all the force of his strong young arm. 

"Oh! oh!" she cried, in real pain. 

With an impatient jerk Hans unwound the string. He 
would have cast it upon the ground in true big-brother style, 
had he not just then spied a tear trickling down his sister's 
cheek. 

"I'll fix it never fear," he said, with sudden tenderness, 
"but we must be quick; the mother will need us soon." 

Then he glanced inquiringly about him, first at the ground, 
next at some bare willow branches above his head, and finally 
at the sky now gorgeous with streaks of blue, crimson and gold. 

Finding nothing in any of these localities to meet his need, 
his eye suddenly brightened as, with the air of a fellow who 
knew what he was about, he took off his cap, and removing the 
tattered lining, adjusted it in a smooth pad over the top of 
Gretel's worn-out shoe. 

"Now," he cried triumphantly, at the same time arranging 
the strings as briskly as his benumbed fingers would allow, 
"can you bear some pulling? " 

Gretel drew up her lips as if to say "hurt away," but made 
no further response. 

In another moment they were laughing together as hand 
in hand they flew along the canal, never thinking whether 
the ice would bear or not, for in Holland ice is generally an 
all-winter affair. It settles itself upon the water in a deter- 
mined kind of way, and so far from growing thin and uncer- 
tain every time the sun is a little severe upon it, it gathers 
its forces day by day and flashes defiance to every beam. 

[15] 



HANSBRINKER; OR, 

Presently, squeak! squeak! sounded something beneath 
Hans' feet. Next his strokes grew shorter, ending ofttimes with 
a jerk, and finally he lay sprawling upon the ice, kicking 
against the air with many a fantastic flourish. 

"Ha! Ha!" laughed Gretel, "that was a fine tumble!" 
But a tender heart was beating under her coarse blue jacket, 
and, even as she laughed, she came, with a graceful sweep, 
close to her prostrate brother. 

"Are you hurt, Hans? oh, you are laughing! catch me now" 
-and she darted away shivering no longer, but with cheeks 
all aglow, and eyes sparkling with fun. 

Hans sprang to his feet and started in brisk pursuit, but 
it was no easy thing to catch Gretel. Before she had traveled 
very far, her skates too began to squeak. 

Believing that discretion was the better part of valor she 
turned suddenly and skated into her pursuer's arms. 

:< Ha! ha! I've caught you!" cried Hans. 

:< Ha! ha! I caught you" she retorted, struggling to free 
herself. 

Just then a clear, quick voice was heard calling "Hans! 
Gretel!" 

"It's the mother," said Hans, looking solemn in an instant. 

By this time the canal was gilded with sunlight. The 
pure morning air was very delightful, and skaters were grad- 
ually increasing in numbers. It was hard to obey the sum- 
mons. But Gretel and Hans were good children; without a 
thought of yielding to the temptation to linger, they pulled 
off their skates leaving half the knots still tied. Hans, with 

his great square shoulders and bushy yellow hair, towered 

[16] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

high above his blue-eyed little sister as they trudged home- 
ward. He was fifteen years old and Gretel was only twelve. 
He was a solid, hearty-looking boy, with honest eyes and a 
brow that seemed to bear a sign "goodness within," just as 
the little Dutch zomerhuis* wears a motto over its portal. 
Gretel was lithe and quick; her eyes had a dancing light in 
them, and while you looked at her cheek the color paled and 
deepened just as it does upon a bed of pink and white blos- 
soms when the wind is blowing. 

As soon as the children turned from the canal they could 
see their parents' cottage. Their mother's tall form, arrayed 
in jacket and petticoat and close-fitting cap, stood, like a 
picture, in the crooked frame of the doorway. Had the cot- 
tage been a mile away, it would still have seemed near. In 
that flat country every object stands out plainly in the dis- 
tance; the chickens show as distinctly as the windmills. 
Indeed, were it not for the dykes and the high banks of the 
canals, one could stand almost anywhere in middle Holland 
without seeing a mound or a ridge between the eye and the 
"jumping-off place." 

None had better cause to know the nature of these same 
dykes than Dame Brinker and the panting youngsters now 
running at her call. But before stating why, let me ask you 
to take a rocking-chair trip with me to that far country where 
you may see, perhaps for the first time, some curious things 
that Hans and Gretel saw every day. 

* Summer-house. 



[17] 



II 

HOLLAND 

HOLLAND is one of the queerest countries under the 
sun. It should be called Odd-land or Contrary-land, 
for in nearly everything it is different from other parts 
of the world. In the first place, a large portion of the country 
is lower than the level of the sea. Great dykes or bulwarks 
have been erected at a heavy cost of money and labor, to keep 
the ocean where it belongs. On certain parts of the coast it 
sometimes leans with all its weight against the land, and it is 
as much as the poor country can do to stand the pressure. 
Sometimes the dykes give way, or spring a leak, and the most 
disastrous results ensue. They are high and wide, and the 
tops of some of them are covered with buildings and trees. 
They have even fine public roads upon them, from which horses 
may look down upon wayside cottages. Often the keels of 
floating ships are higher than the roofs of the dwellings. 
The stork clattering to her young on the house-peak may feel 
that her nest is lifted far out of danger, but the croaking frog 
in neighboring bulrushes is nearer the stars than she. Water- 
bugs dart backward and forward above the heads of the chim- 
ney swallows; and willow trees seem drooping with shame, 
because they cannot reach as high as the reeds near by. 

Ditches, canals, ponds, rivers and lakes are everywhere to 
be seen. High, but not dry, they shine in the sunlight, catch- 
ing nearly all the bustle and the business, quite scorning the 
tame fields stretching damply beside them. One is tempted 

[18] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

to ask, "which is Holland the shores or the water?" The 
very verdure that should be confined to the land has made a 
mistake and settled upon the fish-ponds. In fact, the entire 
country is a kind of saturated sponge or, as the English poet, 
Butler, called it, 

"A land that rides at anchor, and is moor'd, 
In which they do not live, but go aboard." 

Persons are born, live and die, and even have their gardens 
on canal-boats. Farm-houses, with roofs like great slouched 
hats pulled over their eyes, stand on wooden legs with a tucked- 
up sort of air, as if to say, "we intend to keep dry if we can." 
Even the horses wear a wide stool on each hoof to lift them out 
of the mire. In short, the landscape everywhere suggests a 
paradise for ducks. It is a glorious country in summer for 
bare-footed girls and boys. Such wadings! Such mimic ship 
sailing! Such rowing, fishing and swimming! Only think of 
a chain of puddles where one can launch chip boats all day 
long, and never make a return trip! But enough. A full re- 
cital would set all young America rushing in a body toward 
the Zuider Zee. 

Dutch cities seem at first sight to be a bewildering jungle 
of houses, bridges, churches and ships, sprouting into masts, 
steeples and trees. In some cities vessels are hitched like 
horses to their owners' door-posts and receive their freight from 
the upper windows. Mothers scream to Lodewyk and Kassy 
not to swing on the garden gate for fear they may be drowned ! 
Water-roads are more frequent there than common roads and 
railways; water-fences, in the form of lazy green ditches, en- 
close pleasure-ground, polder and garden. 

[19] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

Sometimes fine green hedges are seen; but wooden fences 
such as we have in America are rarely met with in Holland. 
As for stone fences, a Dutchman would lift his hands with 
astonishment at the very idea. There is no stone there, ex- 
cepting those great masses of rock that have been brought 
from other lands to strengthen and protect the coast. All the 
small stones or pebbles, if there ever were any, seem to be 
imprisoned in pavements or quite melted away. Boys with 
strong, quick arms may grow from pinafores to full beards 
without ever finding one to start the water-rings or set the 
rabbits flying. The water-roads are nothing less than canals 
intersecting the country in every direction. These are of all 
sizes, from the great North Holland Ship Canal, which is the 
wonder of the world, to those which a boy can leap. Water- 
omnibuses, called trekschuiten* constantly ply up and down 
these roads for the conveyance of passengers; and water drays, 
called pakschuyten* are used for carrying fuel and merchan- 
dise. Instead of green country lanes, green canals stretch 
from field to barn and from barn to garden; and the farms 
or polders, as they are termed, are merely great lakes pumped 
dry. Some of the busiest streets are water, while many of the 
country roads are paved with brick. The city boats, with their 

* Canal boats. Some of the first named are over thirty feet long. 
They look like green houses lodged on barges, and are drawn by horses 
walking along the bank of the canal. The trekschuiten are divided into 
two compartments, first and second class, and when not too crowded the 
passengers make themselves quite at home in them; the men smoke, the 
women knit or sew, while children play upon the small outer deck. Many 
of the canal boats have white, yellow, or chocolate-colored sails. This 
last color is caused by a preparation of tan which is put on to preserve 
them. 

[20] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

rounded sterns, gilded prows and gaily painted sides, are un- 
like any others under the sun; and a Dutch wagon, with its 
funny little crooked pole, is a perfect mystery of mysteries. 
"One thing is clear," cries Master Brightside, ''the in- 
habitants need never be thirsty." But no, Odd-land is true 
to itself still. Notwithstanding the sea pushing to get in, and 
the lakes struggling to get out, and the overflowing canals, 
rivers and ditches, in many districts there is no water fit to 
swallow; our poor Hollanders must go dry, or drink wine and 
beer, or send far into the inland to Utrecht, and other favored 
localities, for that precious fluid older than Adam yet young 
as the morning dew. Sometimes, indeed, the inhabitants can 
swallow a shower when they are provided with any means of 
catching it ; but generally they are like the Albatross-haunted 
sailors in Coleridge's famous poem of "The Ancient Mariner" 

they see 

"Water, water, everywhere, 
Nor any drop to drink!" 

Great flapping windmills all over the country make it look as 
if flocks of huge sea-birds were just settling upon it. Every- 
where one sees the funniest trees, bobbed into fantastical 
shapes, with their trunks painted a dazzling white, yellow or 
red. Horses are often yoked three abreast. Men, women, 
and children go clattering about in wooden shoes with loose 
heels; peasant girls who cannot get beaux for love, hire them 
for money to escort them to the Kermis*; and husbands and 
wives lovingly harness themselves side by side on the bank of 
the canal and drag their pakschuyts to market. 

Another peculiar feature of Holland is the dune or sand- 

* Fair. 



HANSBRINKER; OR, 

hill. These are numerous along certain portions of the coast. 
Before they were sown with coarse reedgrass and other plants, 
to hold them down, they used to send great storms of sand 
over the inland. So, to add to the oddities, farmers sometimes 
dig down under the surface to find their soil, and on windy days 
dry showers (of sand) often fall upon fields that have grown wet 
under a week of sunshine. 

In short, almost the only familiar thing we Yankees can 
meet with in Holland is a harvest-song which is quite popu- 
lar there, though no linguist could translate it. Even then we 
must shut our eyes and listen only to the tune, which I leave 

you to guess. 

"Yanker didee dudel down 

Didee dudel lawnter; 
Yankee viver, voover, vown, 
Botermelk und Tawnter!" 

On the other hand, many of the oddities of Holland serve 
only to prove the thrift and perseverance of the people. There 
is not a richer, or more carefully tilled garden-spot in the 
whole world than this leaky, springy little country. There is 
not a braver, more heroic race than its quiet, passive-looking 
inhabitants. Few nations have equaled it in important dis- 
coveries and inventions; none has excelled it in commerce, 
navigation, learning and science or set as noble examples 
in the promotion of education and public charities; and none 
in proportion to its extent has expended more money and labor 
upon public works. 

Holland has its shining annals of noble and illustrious men 
and women; its grand, historic records of patience, resistance 
and victory; its religious freedom, its enlightened enterprise, 



THE SILVER SKATES 

its art, its music and its literature. It has truly been called 
"the battle-field of Europe," as truly may we consider it 
the Asylum of the world, for the oppressed of every nation 
have there found shelter and encouragement. If we Ameri- 
cans w r ho, after all, are homeopathic preparations of Holland 
stock, can laugh at the Dutch, and call them human beavers, 
and hint that their country may float off any day at high tide, 
we can also feel proud, and say they have proved themselves 
heroes, and that their country will not float off while there is 
a Dutchman left to grapple it. 

There are said to be at least ninety-nine hundred large 
windmills in Holland, with sails ranging from eighty to one 
hundred and twenty feet long. They are employed in sawing 
timber, beating hemp, grinding, and many other kinds of 
work; but their principal use is for pumping water from the 
lowlands into the canals, and for guarding against the inland 
freshets that so often deluge the country. Their yearly cost 
is said to be nearly ten millions of dollars. The large ones are 
of great power. Their huge, circular tower, rising sometimes 
from the midst of factory buildings, is surmounted with a 
smaller one tapering into a cap-like roof. This upper tower 
is encircled at its base with a balcony, high above which juts 
the axis turned by its four prodigious, ladder-backed sails. 

Many of the windmills are primitive affairs, seeming sadly 
in need of Yankee "improvements"; but some of the new ones 
are admirable. They are so constructed that, by some in- 
genious contrivance, they present their fans, or wings, to the 
wind in precisely the right direction to work with the requi- 
site power. In other words, the miller may take a nap and 

[23] 



HANSBRINKER; OR, 

feel quite sure that his mill will study the wind, and make the 
most of it, until he wakens. Should there be but a slight cur- 
rent of air, every sail will spread itself to catch the faintest 
breath; but if a heavy "blow" should come, they will shrink 
at its touch, like great mimosa leaves, and only give it half 
a chance to move them. 

One of the old prisons of Amsterdam, called the Rasp- 
house, because the thieves and vagrants who were confined 
there were employed in rasping log- wood, had a cell for the 
punishment of lazy prisoners. In one corner of this cell was 
a pump and, in another, an opening through which a steady 
stream of water was admitted. The prisoner could take his 
choice, either to stand still and be drowned, or to work for 
dear life at the pump and keep the flood down until his jailer 
chose to relieve him. Now it seems to me that, throughout 
Holland, Nature has introduced this little diversion on a grand 
scale. The Dutch have always been forced to pump for their 
very existence and probably must continue to do so to the end 
of time. 

Every year millions of dollars are spent in repairing dykes 
and regulating water levels. If these important duties were 
neglected the country would be uninhabitable. Already 
dreadful consequences, as I have said, have followed the 
bursting of these dykes. Hundreds of villages and towns 
have from time to time been buried beneath the rush of waters 
and nearly a million of persons have been destroyed. One of 
the most fearful inundations ever known occurred in the 
autumn of the year 1570. Twenty -eight terrible floods had 

before that time overwhelmed portions of Holland, but this 

[24] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

was the most terrible of all. The unhappy country had long 
been suffering under Spanish tyranny; now, it seemed, the 
crowning point was given to its troubles. When we read 
Motley's history of the Rise of the Dutch Republic we learn 
to revere the brave people who have endured, suffered and 
dared so much. 

Mr. Motley, in his thrilling account of the great inunda- 
tion, tells us how a long continued and violent gale had been 
sweeping the Atlantic waters into the North Sea, piling them 
against the coasts of the Dutch provinces; how the dykes, 
tasked beyond their strength, burst in all directions; how even 
the Hand-bos, a bulwark formed of oaken piles, braced with 
iron, moored with heavy anchors and secured by gravel and 
granite, was snapped to pieces like packthread; how fishing 
boats and bulky vessels floating up into the country became 
entangled among the trees, or beat in the roofs and walls of 
dwellings, and how at last all Friesland was converted into an 
angry sea. Multitudes of men, women, children, of horses 
oxen, sheep, and every domestic animal, were struggling in 
the waves in every direction. Every boat and every article 
which could serve as a boat were eagerly seized upon. Every 
house was inundated, even the grave-yards gave up their 
dead. The living infant in his cradle, and the long-buried 
corpse in his coffin, floated side by side. The ancient flood 
seemed about to be renewed. Everywhere, upon the tops of 
trees, upon the steeples of churches, human beings were clus- 
tered, praying to God for mercy, and to their fellowmen for 
assistance. As the storm at last was subsiding, boats began 

to ply in every direction, saving those who were struggling in 

[25] 



HANSBRINKER; OR, 

the water, picking fugitives from roofs and tree tops, and col- 
lecting the bodies of those already drowned. No less than one 
hundred thousand human beings had perished in a few hours. 
Thousands upon thousands of dumb creatures lay dead upon 
the waters ; and the damage done to property of every descrip- 
tion was beyond calculation. 

Robles, the Spanish Governor, was foremost in noble ef- 
forts to save life and lessen the horrors of the catastrophe. 
He had formerly been hated by the Dutch because of his 
Spanish or Portuguese blood, but by his goodness and ac- 
tivity in their hour of disaster he won all hearts to gratitude. 
He soon introduced an improved method of constructing the 
dykes, and passed a law that they should in future be kept 
up by the owners of the soil. There were fewer heavy floods 
from this time, though within less than three hundred years 
six fearful inundations swept over the land. 

In the spring there is always great danger of inland freshets, 
especially in times of thaw, because the rivers, choked with 
blocks of ice, overflow before they can discharge their rapidly 
rising water into the ocean. Added to this, the sea chafing 
and pressing against the dykes, it is no wonder that Holland 
is often in a state of alarm. The greatest care is taken to 
prevent accidents. Engineers and workmen are stationed all 
along in threatened places and a close watch is kept up night 
and day. When a general signal of danger is given, the in- 
habitants all rush to the rescue, eager to combine against their 
common foe. As everywhere else straw is supposed to be of 
all things the most helpless in the water, of course in Holland 

it must be rendered the mainstay against a rushing tide. 

[26] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

Huge straw mats are pressed against the embankments, for- 
tified with clay and heavy stone, and once adjusted, the ocean 
dashes against them in vain. 

Raff Brinker, the father of Gretel and Hans, had for years 
been employed upon the dykes. It was at the time of a threat- 
ened inundation, when in the midst of a terrible storm, in 
darkness and sleet, the men were laboring at a weak spot near 
the Veermyk sluice, that he fell from the scaffolding, and was 
taken home insensible. From that hour he never worked 
again; though he lived on, mind and memory were gone. 

Gretel could not remember him otherwise than as the 
strange, silent man, whose eyes followed her vacantly which- 
ever way she turned; but Hans had recollections of a hearty, 
cheerful-voiced father who was never tired of bearing him 
upon his shoulder, and whose careless song still seemed echo- 
ing near when he lay awake at night and listened. 



[27] 



Ill 

THE SILVER SKATES 

DAME BRINKER earned a scanty support for her 
family by raising vegetables, spinning and knitting. 
Once she had worked on board the barges plying up 
and down the canal, and had occasionally been harnessed with 
other women to the towing rope of a pakschuyt plying be- 
tween Broek and Amsterdam. But when Hans had grown 
strong and large, he had insisted upon doing all such drudgery 
in her place. Besides, her husband had become so very help- 
less of late, that he required her constant care. Although not 
having as much intelligence as a little child, he was yet strong 
of arm and very hearty, and Dame Brinker had sometimes 
great trouble in controlling him. 

"Ah! children, he was so good and steady," she would 
sometimes say, "and as wise as a lawyer. Even the Burgo- 
master would stop to ask him a question, and now, alack! he 
don't know his wife and little ones. You remember the father, 
Hans, when he was himself a great brave man Don't you?' : 

'Yes, indeed, mother, he knew everything, and could do 
anything under the sun and how he would sing! why, you 
used to laugh and say it was enough to set the windmills 
dancing." 

"So I did. Bless me! how the boy remembers! Gretel, 
child, take that knitting needle from your father, quick; he'll 
get it in his eyes may be; and put the shoe on him. His poor 

feet are like ice half the time, but I can't keep 'em covered 

[28] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

all I can do " and then half wailing, half humming, Dame 

Brinker would sit down, and fill the low cottage with the whirr 
of her spinning wheel. 

Nearly all the outdoor work, as well as the household labor, 
was performed by Hans and Gretel. At certain seasons of the 
year the children went out day after day to gather peat, which 
they would stow away in square, brick-like pieces, for fuel. 
At other times, when home-work permitted, Hans rode the 
to wing-horses on the canals, earning a few stivers* a day; 
and Gretel tended geese for the neighboring farmers. 

Hans was clever at carving in wood, and both he and Gretel 
were good gardeners. Gretel could sing and sew and run on 
great, high, home-made stilts better than any girl for miles 
around. She could learn a ballad in five minutes, and find, in 
its season, any weed or flower you could name; but she dreaded 
books, and often the very sight of the figuring-board in the 
old school-house would set her eyes swimming. Hans, on the 
contrary, was slow and steady. The harder the task, whether 
in study or daily labor, the better he liked it. Boys who 
sneered at him out of school, on account of his patched clothes 
and scant leather breeches, were forced to yield him the post 
of honor in nearly every class. It was not long before he was 
the only youngster in the school who had not stood at least 
once in the corner of horrors, where hung a dreaded whip, and 
over it this motto: 

f "Leer, leer! jou luigaart, of dit endje touw zal je leeren!" 

* A stiver is worth about two cents of our money, 
f Learn! Learn! you idler, or this rope's end shall teach you. 

[29] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

It was only in winter that Gretel and Hans could be spared 
to attend school; and for the past month they had been kept 
at home because their mother needed their services. Raff 
Brinker required constant attention, and there was black 
bread to be made, and the house to be kept clean, and stock- 
ings and other things to be knitted and sold in the market 
place. 

While they were busily assisting their mother on this cold 
December morning, a merry troop of girls and boys came skim- 
ming down the canal. There were fine skaters among them, 
and as the bright medley of costumes flitted by, it looked from 
a distance as though the ice had suddenly thawed, and some gay 
tulip-bed were floating along on the current. 

There was the rich burgomaster's daughter, Hilda van 
Gleck, with her costly furs and loose-fitting velvet sacque; 
and, near by, a pretty peasant girl, Annie Bouman, jauntily 
attired in a coarse scarlet jacket and a blue skirt just short 
enough to display the gray homespun hose to advantage. 
Then there was the proud Rychie Korbes, whose father, Myn- 
heer van Korbes, was one of the leading men of Amsterdam; 
and, flocking closely around her, Carl Schummel, Peter and 
Ludwig* van Holp, Jacob Foot, and a very small boy rejoic- 
ing in the tremendous name of Voostenwalbert Schimmel- 
penninck. There were nearly twenty other boys and girls 
in the party, and one and all seemed full of excitement 
and frolic. 

Up and down the canal, within the space of a half mile, 

* Ludwig, Gretel and Carl were named after German friends. The 
Dutch form would be Lodewyk, Grietje and Karel. 

[30] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

they skated, exerting their racing powers to the utmost. Often 
the swiftest among them was seen to dodge from under the 
very nose of some pompous law-giver or doctor, who with 
folded arms was skating leisurely toward the town; or a chain 
of girls would suddenly break at the approach of a fat old 
burgomaster who, with gold-headed cane poised in air, was 
puffing his way to Amsterdam. Equipped in skates wonderful 
to behold, from their superb strappings, and dazzling runners 
curving over the instep and topped with gilt balls, he would 
open his fat eyes a little if one of the maidens chanced to drop 
him a courtesy, but would not dare to bow in return for fear 
of losing his balance. 

Not only pleasure-seekers and stately men of note were 
upon the canal. There were work-people, with weary eyes, 
hastening to their shops and factories; market-women with 
loads upon their heads; peddlers bending with their packs; 
barge-men with shaggy hair and bleared faces, jostling roughly 
on their way; kind-eyed clergymen speeding perhaps to the 
bedsides of the dying; and, after a while, groups of children, 
with satchels slung over their shoulders, whizzing past to- 
wards the distant school. One and all wore skates excepting, 
indeed, a muffled-up farmer whose queer cart bumped along 
on the margin of the canal. 

Before long our merry boys and girls were almost lost in 
the confusion of bright colors, the ceaseless motion, and the 
gleaming of skates flashing back the sunlight. We might have 
known no more of them had not the whole party suddenly 
come to a standstill and, grouping themselves out of the way 

of the passers-by, all talked at once to a pretty little maiden, 

[31] 



IIANS BRINKER; OR, 

whom they had drawn from the tide of people flowing toward 
the town. 

"Oh, Katrinka!" they cried, in a breath, "have you heard 
of it? The race We want you to join!" 

"What race?" asked Katrinka, laughing " Don't all talk 
at once, please, I can't understand." 

Every one panted and looked at Rychie Korbes, who was 
their acknowledged spokeswoman. 

"Wlhy," said Rychie, "we are to have a grand skating 
match on the twentieth, on *Mevrouw van Gleck's birthday. 
It's all Hilda's work. They are going to give a splendid prize 
to the best skater." 

"Yes," chimed in a half-a-dozen voices, "a beautiful pair 
of silver skates perfectly magnificent! with, oh! such straps 
and silver bells and buckles!" 

''Who said they had bells?" put in the small voice of the 
boy with the big name. 

"I say so, Master Voost," replied Rychie. 

"So they have, " "No, I'm sure they haven't, " 

"Oh, how can you say so?- "it's an arrow "and 

Mynheer van Korbes told my mother they had bells- 
came from sundry of the excited group; but Mynheer Voosten- 
walbert Schimmelpenninck essayed to settle the matter with 
a decisive 

"Well, you don't any of you know a single thing about it; 
they haven't a sign of a bell on them, they " 

"Oh! oh!" and the chorus of conflicting opinion broke 
forth again. 

* Mrs. or Madame (pronounced MEFFROW). 

[32] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

"The girls' pair are to have bells," interposed Hilda, 
quietly, "but there is to be another pair for the boys with an 
arrow engraved upon the sides." 

"There! I told you so!" cried nearly all the youngsters in 
a breath. 

Katrinka looked at them with bewildered eyes. 

"Who is to try?" she asked. 

"All of us," answered Rychie. "It will be such fun! 
And you must, too, Katrinka. But it's school time now, we 
will talk it all over at noon. Oh! you will join of course." 

Katrinka, without replying, made a graceful pirouette, and 
laughing out a coquettish- "Don't you hear the last bell? 
Catch me!" darted off toward the school-house, standing 
half a mile away, on the canal. 

All started, pell-mell, at this challenge, but they tried in 
vain to catch the bright-eyed, laughing creature who, with 
golden hair streaming in the sunlight, cast back many a spark- 
ling glance of triumph as she floated onward. 

Beautiful Katrinka! Flushed with youth and health, all 
life and mirth and motion, what wonder thine image, ever 
floating in advance, sped through one boy's dreams that night ! 
What wonder that it seemed his darkest hour when, years 
afterward, thy presence floated away from him forever! 



[33] 



IV 
HANS AND GRETEL FIND A FRIEND 

A noon our young friends poured forth from the school- 
house intent upon having an hour's practicing upon 
the canal. 

They had skated but a few moments when Carl Schummel 
said mockingly to Hilda: 

'There's a pretty pair just coming upon the ice! The little 
rag-pickers! Their skates must have been a present from the 
king direct." 

'They are patient creatures," said Hilda, gently. "It 
must have been hard to learn to skate upon such queer affairs. 
They are very poor peasants, you see. The boy has probably 
made the skates himself." 

Carl was somewhat abashed. 

'Patient they may be, but as for skating, they start off 
pretty well, only to finish with a jerk. They could move well 
to your new staccato piece I think." 

Hilda laughed pleasantly and left him. After joining a 
small detachment of the racers, and sailing past every one of 
them, she halted beside Gretel who, with eager eyes, had been 
watching the sport. 

'What is your name, little girl?' ; 

"Gretel, my lady," answered the child, somewhat awed by 
Hilda's rank, though they were nearly of the same age, "and 
my brother is called Hans." 

"Hans is a stout fellow," said Hilda, cheerily, "and seems 

[34] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

to have a warm stove somewhere within him, but you look 
cold. You should wear more clothing, little one." 

Gretel, who had nothing else to wear, tried to laugh as she 
answered : 

: 'I am not so very little. I am past twelve years old." 

"Oh, I beg your pardon. You see I am nearly fourteen, 
and so large of my age that other girls seem small to me, 
but that is nothing. Perhaps you will shoot up far above me 
yet; not unless you dress more warmly, though shivering 
girls never grow." 

Hans flushed as he saw tears rising in Gretel's eyes. 

"My sister has not complained of the cold; but this is 
bitter weather, they say- ' and he looked sadly upon Gretel. 

'It is nothing," said Gretel. 'I am often warm too 
warm when I am skating. You are good, jufvrouw,* to think 
of it." 

'No, no," answered Hilda, quite angry at herself. "I am 

careless, cruel; but I meant no harm. I wanted to ask you 

-I mean if- ' and here Hilda, coming to the point of 

her errand, faltered before the poorly clad but noble-looking 

children she wished to serve. 

'What is it, young lady?" exclaimed Hans eagerly. "If 
there is any service I can do? any- 

"Oh! no, no," laughed Hilda, shaking off her embarrass- 
ment, "I only wished to speak to you about the grand race. 
Why do you not join it? You both can skate well, and the 
ranks are free. Any one may enter for the prize." 

* Miss Young lady (pronounced YUFFROW) . In studied or polite 
address it would be jongvrowe (pronounced YOUNGFROW). 

[35] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

Gretel looked wistfully at Hans, who, tugging at his cap, 
answered respectfully. 

"Ah, jufvrouw, even if we could enter, we could skate only 
a few strokes with the rest. Our skates are hard wood, you 
see" (holding up the sole of his foot), "but they soon become 
damp, and then they stick and trip us." 

Gretel's eyes twinkled with fun as she thought of Hans' 
mishap in the morning, but she blushed as she faltered out 
timidly: 

"Oh, no, we can't join; but may \ve be there, my lady, 
on the great day to look on?" 

"Certainly," answered Hilda, looking kindly into the two 
earnest faces, and wishing from her heart that she had not 
spent so much of her monthly allowance for lace and finery. 
She had but eight kwartjes* left, and they would buy but 
one pair of skates, at the farthest. 

Looking down with a sigh at the tw r o pair of feet so very 
different in size, she asked: 

'Which of you is the better skater?' 5 

"Gretel," replied Hans, promptly. 

'Hans," answered Gretel, in the same breath. 

Hilda smiled. 

; 'I cannot buy you each a pair of skates, or even one good 
pair; but here are eight kwartjes. Decide between you which 
stands the best chance of winning the race, and buy the skates 
accordingly. I wish I had enough to buy better ones good- 
bye!" and, with a nod and a smile, Hilda, after handing the 

* A kwartje is a small silver coin worth one-quarter of a guilder, or 10 
cents in American currency. 

[36] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

money to the electrified Hans, glided swiftly away to rejoin 
her companions. 

"Jufvrouw! jufvrouw van Gleck!" called Hans in a loud 
tone, stumbling after her as well as he could, for one of his 
skate-strings was untied. 

Hilda turned, and with one hand raised to shield her eyes 
from the sun, seemed to him to be floating through the air, 
nearer and nearer. 

'We cannot take this money," panted Hans, "though we 
know your goodness in giving it." 

"Why not, indeed?" asked Hilda flushing. 

"Because," replied Hans, bowing like a clown, but look- 
ing with the eye of a prince at the queenly girl, "we have not 
earned it." 

Hilda was quick-witted. She had noticed a pretty wooden 
chain upon Gretel's neck, 

"Carve me a chain, Hans, like the one your sister wears." 

'That I will, lady, with all my heart; we have white-wood 
in the house, fine as ivory; you shall have one to-morrow," and 
Hans hastily tried to return the money. 

"No, no," said Hilda decidedly. 'That sum will be but 
a poor price for the chain," and off she darted, outstripping the 
fleetest among the skaters. 

Hans sent a long, bewildered gaze after her; it was useless 
he felt to make any further resistance. 

"It is right," he muttered, half to himself, half to his faith- 
ful shadow, Gretel, "I must work hard every minute, and sit 
up half the night if the mother will let me burn a candle; but 

the chain shall be finished. We may keep the money, Gretel." 

[37] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

'What a good little lady!" cried Gretel clapping her 
hands with delight, "Oh! Hans, was it for nothing the stork 
settled on our roof last summer? Do you remember how the 
mother said it would bring us luck, and how she cried when 
Janzoon Kolp shot him? And she said it would bring him 
trouble. But the luck has come to us at last! Now, Hans, if 
mother sends us to town to-morrow you can buy the skates 
in the market place." 

Hans shook his head. ' The young lady would have given 
us the money to buy skates; but if I earn it, Gretel, it shall 
be spent for wool. You must have a warm jacket." 

"On!" cried Gretel, in real dismay, "not buy the skates! 
Why I am not often cold ! Mother says the blood runs up and 
down in poor children's veins humming, 'I must keep 'em 
warm! I must keep 'em warm.' 

"Oh, Hans," she continued with something like a sob, 
"don't say you won't buy the skates, it makes me feel just 
like crying besides, I want to be cold I mean I'm real, 
awful warm so now!" 

Hans looked up hurriedly. He had a true Dutch horror 
of tears, or emotion of any kind, and, most of all, dreaded to 
see his sister's blue eyes overflowing. 

"Now mind," cried Gretel, seeing her advantage, "I'll feel 
awful if you give up the skates. / don't want them. I'm not 
such a stingy as that; but I want you to have them, and then 
when I get bigger they'll do for me oh-h count the pieces, 
Hans. Did ever you see so many? ' : 

Hans turned the money thoughtfully in his palm. Never 
in all his life had he longed so intensely for a pair of skates, 

[38] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

for he had known of the race and had, boy-like, fairly ached 
for a chance to test his powers with the other children. He 
felt confident that with a good pair of steel runners he could 
readily distance most of the boys on the canal. Then, too, 
Gretel's argument was so plausible. On the other hand, he 
knew that she, with her strong but lithe little frame, needed 
but a week's practice on good runners to make her a better 
skater than Rychie Korbes or even Katrinka Flack. As soon 
as this last thought flashed upon him his resolve was made. 
If Gretel would not have the jacket, she should have the skates. 

"No, Gretel," he answered at last, "I can wait. Some day 
I may have money enough saved to buy a fine pair. You 
shall have these." 

Gretel's eyes sparkled; but in another instant she insisted, 
rather faintly: 

"The young lady gave the money to you, Hans. I'd be 
real bad to take it." 

Hans shook his head resolutely as he trudged on, causing 
his sister to half skip and half walk in her effort to keep 
beside him; by this time they had taken off their wooden 
"rockers," and were hastening home to tell their mother the 
good news. 

"Oh! / know!" cried Gretel, in a sprightly tone, "You can 
do this. You can get a pair a little too small for you, and too 
big for me, and we can take turns and use them. Won't that 
be fine?" and Gretel clapped her hands again. 

Poor Hans ! This was a strong temptation, but he pushed 
it away from him, brave-hearted fellow that he was. 

"Nonsense, Gretel. You could never get on with a big 

[39] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

pair. You stumbled about with these like a blind chicken 
before I curved off the ends. No, you must have a pair to fit 
exactly, and you must practice every chance you can get, until 
the Twentieth conies. My little Gretel shall win the silver 
skates." 

Gretel could not help laughing with delight at the very 
idea. 

'Hans! Gretel!" called out a familiar voice. 

"Coming, mother!" and they hastened toward the cot- 
tage, Hans still shaking the pieces of silver in his hand. 

On the following day there was not a prouder nor a hap- 
pier boy in all Holland than Hans Brinker, as he watched his 
sister, with many a dexterous sweep, flying in and out among 
the skaters who at sundown thronged the canal. A warm 
jacket had been given her by the kind-hearted Hilda, and the 
burst-out shoes had been cobbled into decency by Dame 
Brinker. As the little creature darted backward and forward, 
flushed with enjoyment, and quite unconscious of the many 
wondering glances bent upon her, she felt that the shining 
runners beneath her feet had suddenly turned earth into 
Fairyland, while "Hans, dear, good Hans!" echoed itself over 
and over again in her grateful heart. 

"By den donder!" exclaimed Peter van Holp to Carl 
Schummel, "but that little one in the red jacket and patched 
petticoat skates well. Gunst! she has toes on her heels, and 
eyes in the back of her head! See her ! It will be a joke if she 
gets in the race and beats Katrinka Flack, after all." 

"Hush! not so loud!" returned Carl, rather sneeringly. 

[40] 




D.MSK 



There was not a prouder nor a happier boy in old Holland than Hans 

Brinker, as he watched his sister, with many a dexterous sweep, 

flying in and out among the skaters. 



THE SILVER SKATES 



'That little lady in rags is the special pet of Hilda van Gleck. 
Those shining skates are her gift, if I make no mistake." 

"So! so!" exclaimed Peter, with a radiant smile, for Hilda 
was his best friend. "She has been at her good work there, 
too!" And Mynheer van Holp, after cutting a double 8 on 
the ice, to say nothing of a huge P, then a jump, and an H, 
glided onward until he found himself beside Hilda. 

Hand in hand, they skated together, laughingly at first, 
then staidly talking in a low tone. 

Strange to say, Peter van Holp soon arrived at a sudden 
conviction that his little sister needed a wooden chain just 
like Hilda's. 

Two days afterward, on St. Nicholas' Eve, Hans, having 
burned three candle-ends, and cut his thumb into the bargain, 
stood in the market-place at Amsterdam buying another pair 
of skates. 



[411 



V 
SHADOWS IN THE HOME 

GOOD Dame Brinker! As soon as the scanty dinner 
had been cleared away that noon, she had arrayed 
herself in her holiday attire, in honor of Saint Nicholas. 
'It will brighten the children,' she thought to herself, and she 
was not mistaken. This festival dress had been worn very 
seldom during the past ten years; before that time it had 
done good service, and had flourished at many a dance and 
Kermis, when she was known, far and wide, as the pretty 
Meitje Klenck. The children had sometimes been granted 
rare glimpses of it as it lay in state in the old oaken chest. 
Faded and threadbare as it was, it was gorgeous in their eyes, 
with its white linen tucker, now gathered to her plump throat, 
and vanishing beneath the trim bodice of blue homespun, and 
its reddish brown skirt bordered with black. The knitted 
woolen mitts, and the dainty cap showing her hair, which 
generally was hidden, made her seem almost like a princess 
to Gretel, while master Hans grew staid and well behaved as 
he gazed. 

Soon the little maid, while braiding her own golden tresses, 
fairly danced around her mother in an ecstasy of admiration. 

"Oh, mother, mother, mother, how pretty you are! Look, 
Hans! isn't it just like a picture?" 

"Just like a picture," assented Hans, cheerfully, "just 
like a picture only I don't like those stocking things on the 

hands." 

[42] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

"Not like the mitts, brother Hans! why, they're very 
important see they cover up all the red. Oh, mother, 
how white your arm is where the mitt leaves off, whiter 
than mine, oh, ever so much whiter. I declare, mother, the 
bodice is tight for you. You're growing! you're surely 
growing!" 

Dame Brinker laughed. 

"This was made long ago, lovey, when I wasn't much 
thicker about the waist than a churn-dasher. And how do 
you like the cap?" turning her head from side to side. 

"Oh, ever so much, mother. It's b-e-a-u-tif ul ! see! The 
father is looking!" 

Was the father looking? Alas, only with a dull stare. 
His vrouw turned toward him with a start, something like a 
blush rising to her cheeks, a questioning sparkle in her eye. 
The bright look died away in an instant. 

"No, no," she sighed, "he sees nothing. Come, Hans" 
(and the smile crept faintly back again), "don't stand gaping 
at me all day, and the new skates waiting for you at Amster- 
dam." 

"Ah, mother," he answered, "you need many things. 
Why should I buy skates?" 

"Nonsense, child. The money was given to you on pur- 
pose, or the work was it's all the same thing Go while the 
sun is high." 

"Yes, and hurry back, Hans!" laughed Gretel, ''we'll 
race on the canal to-night, if the mother lets us." 

At the very threshold he turned to say "Your spinning- 
wheel wants a new treadle, mother." 

[43] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

'You can make it, Hans." 

"So I can. That will take no money. But you need 
feathers, and wool and meal, and 

'There, there! That will do. Your silver cannot buy 
everything. Ah! Hans, if our stolen money would but come 
back on this bright Saint Nicholas' Eve, how glad we would 
be! Only last night I prayed to the good Saint 

; ' Mother!" interrupted Hans in dismay. 

'Why not, Hans? Shame on you to reproach me for that! 
I'm as true a Protestant, in sooth, as any fine lady that walks 
into church, but it's no wrong to turn sometimes to the good 
Saint Nicholas. Tut! It's a likely story if one can't do that, 
without one's children flaring up at it and he the boys' and 
girls' own saint Hoot! mayhap the colt is a steadier horse 
than the mare?" 

Hans knew his mother too well to offer a word in oppo- 
sition, when her voice quickened and sharpened as it did now 
(it was often sharp and quick when she spoke of the missing 
money), so he said, gently: 

"And what did you ask of good Saint Nicholas, mother?" 

'Why, to never give the thieves a wink of sleep till they 
brought it back, to be sure, if he's power to do such things, 
or else to brighten our wits that we might find it ourselves. 
Not a sight have I had of it since the day before the dear 
father was hurt as you well know, Hans." 

"That I do, mother," he answered sadly, 'though you 
have almost pulled down the cottage in searching." 

"Aye; but it was of no use," moaned the dame. ' Hiders 

make best finders.' 5 

[44] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

Hans started. " Do you think the father could tell aught? " 
he asked mysteriously. 

"Aye, indeed," said Dame Brinker, nodding her head, "I 
think so, but that is no sign. I never hold the same belief 
in the matter two days. Mayhap the father paid it off for 
the great silver watch we have been guarding since that day. 
But, no I'll never believe it." 

'The watch was not worth a quarter of the money, 
mother." 

'No, indeed; and your father was a shrewd man up to 
the last moment. He was too steady and thrifty for silly 
doings." 

"Where did the watch come from, I wonder," muttered 
Hans, half to himself. 

Dame Brinker shook her head, and looked sadly toward 
her husband, who sat staring blankly at the floor. Gretel 
stood near him, knitting. 

"That we shall never know, Hans. I have shown it to 
the father many a time, but he does not know it from a potato. 
When he came in that dreadful night to supper, he handed 
the watch to me and told me to take good care of it until he 
asked for it again. Just as he opened his lips to say more, 
Broom Klatterboost came flying in with word that the dyke was 
in danger. Ah ! the waters were terrible that holy Pinxterweek ! 
My man, alack ! caught up his tools and ran out. That was the 
last I ever saw of him in his right mind. He was brought 
in again by midnight, nearly dead, with his poor head all 
bruised and cut. The fever passed off in time, but never the 

dullness that grew worse every day. We shall never know." 

[45] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

Hans had heard all this before. More than once he had 
seen his mother, in hours of sore need, take the watch from its 
hiding-place, half resolved to sell it, but she had always con- 
quered the temptation. 

'No, Hans," she would say, "we must be nearer starving 
than this before we turn faithless to the father!" 

A memory of some such scene crossed her son's mind now; 
for, after giving a heavy sigh, and filliping a crumb of wax at 
Gretel across the table, he said: 

"Aye, mother, you have done bravely to keep it many a 
one would have tossed it off for gold long ago." 

"And more shame for them!" exclaimed the dame, indig- 
nantly, "/ would not do it. Besides, the gentry are so hard 
on us poor folks that if they saw such a thing in our hands, 
even if we told all, they might suspect the father of- 

Hans flushed angrily. 

'They would not dare to say such a thing, mother! If 
they did I'd " 

He clenched his fist, and seemed to think that the rest of 
his sentence was too terrible to utter in her presence. 

Dame Brinker smiled proudly through her tears at this 
interruption. 

"Ah, Hans, thou'rt a true, brave lad. We will never part 
company with the watch. In his dying hour the dear father 
might wake and ask for it." 

"Might wake, mother!" echoed Hans, "wake and know 
us?" 

"Aye, child," almost whispered his mother, "such things 
have been." 

[46] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

By this time Hans had nearly forgotten his proposed er- 
rand to Amsterdam. His mother had seldom spoken so famil- 
iarly with him. He felt himself now to be not only her son, 
but her friend her adviser. 

"You are right, mother. We must never give up the watch. 
For the father's sake, we will guard it always. The money, 
though, may come to light when we least expect it." 

"Never!" cried Dame Brinker, taking the last stitch from 
her needle with a jerk, and laying the unfinished knitting 
heavily upon her lap. 'There is no chance! One thousand 
guilders! and all gone in a day! One thousand guilders Oh! 
what ever did become of them? If they went in an evil way, 
the thief would have confessed by this on his dying bed he 
would not dare to die with such guilt on his soul!" 

"He may not be dead yet," said Hans, soothingly, "any 
day we may hear of him." 

"Ah, child," she said in a changed tone, : 'what thief 
would ever have come here? It was always neat and clean, 
thank God! but not fine; for the father and I saved and saved 
that we might have something laid by. 'Little and often soon 
fills the pouch.' We found it so, in truth; besides, the father 
had a goodly sum, already, for service done to the Heernocht 
lands, at the time of the great inundation. Every week we 
had a guilder left over, sometimes more, for the father worked 
extra hours, and could get high pay for his labor. Every Sat- 
urday night we put something by, except the time when you 
had the fever, Hans, and when Gretel came. At last the pouch 
grew so full that I mended an old stocking and commenced 

again. Now that I look back, it seems that the money was 

[47] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

up to the heel in a few sunny weeks. There was great pay in 
those days if a man was quick at engineer work. The stocking 
went on filling with copper and silver aye, and gold. You 
may well open your eyes, Gretel. I used to laugh and tell the 
father it was not for poverty I wore my old gown; and the 
stocking went on filling so full that sometimes when I woke 
at night, I'd get up, soft and quiet, and go feel it in the moon- 
light. Then, on my knees, I would thank our Lord that my 
little ones could in time get good learning, and that the father 
might rest from labor in his old age. Sometimes, at supper, 
the father and I would talk about a new chimney and a good 
winter-room for the cow; but my man forsooth had finer plans 
even than that. 'A big sail,' says he, 'catches the wind- 
we can do what we will soon,' and then we would sing together 
as I washed my dishes. Ah, 'a smooth sea makes an easy 
rudder,'- -not a thing vexed me from morning till night. Every 
week the father would take out the stocking and drop in the 
money and laugh and kiss me as we tied it up together. 
Up with you, Hans ! there you sit gaping, and the day a-wast- 
ing!" added Dame Brinker tartly, blushing to find that she had 
been speaking too freely to her boy, "it's high time you were 
on your way." 

Hans had seated himself and was looking earnestly into 
her face. He arose, and, in almost a whisper, asked: 

; 'Have you ever tried, mother?" 

She understood him. 

'Yes, child, often. But the father only laughs, or he 
stares at me so strange I am glad to ask no more. When you 

and Gretel had the fever last Winter, and our bread was 

[48] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

nearly gone, and I could earn nothing, for fear you would 
die while my face was turned, oh! I tried then! I smoothed 
his hair, and whispered to him soft as a kitten, about the 
money where it was who had it. Alack! he would pick at 
my sleeve, and whisper gibberish till my blood ran cold. At 
last, while Gretel lay whiter than snow, and you were raving 
on the bed, I SCREAMED to him it seemed as if he must hear 
me 'Raff, where is our money? Do you know aught of the 
money, Raff? the money in the pouch and the stocking, in 
the big chest?'- -but I might as well have talked to a stone 
I might as 

The mother's voice sounded so strangely, and her eye was 
so bright, that Hans, with a new anxiety, laid his hand upon 
her shoulder. 

"Come, mother," he said, "let us try to forget this money. 
I am big and strong Gretel, too, is very quick and willing. 
Soon all will be prosperous with us again. Why, mother, 
Gretel and I would rather see thee bright and happy, than to 
have all the silver in the world wouldn't we, Gretel?" 

" The mother knows it," said Gretel, sobbing. 



[49] 



VI 
SUNBEAMS 

DAME BRINKER was startled at her children's emo- 
tion, glad, too, for it proved how loving and true 
they were. 

Beautiful ladies, in princely homes, often smile suddenly 
and sweetly, gladdening the very air around them; but I 
doubt if their smile be more welcome in God's sight than that 
which sprang forth to cheer the roughly clad boy and girl in 
the humble cottage. Dame Brinker felt that she had been 
selfish. Blushing and brightening, she hastily wiped her eyes, 
and looked upon them as only a mother can. 

"Hoity! Toity! pretty talk we're having, and Saint Nicho- 
las' Eve almost here! What wonder the yarn pricks my fin- 
gers! Come, Gretel, take this cent,* and while Hans is trading 
for the skates you can buy a waffle in the market-place." 

"Let me stay home with you, mother," said Gretel, look- 
ing up with eyes that sparkled through their tears. : 'Hans 
will buy me the cake." 

"As you will, child, and Hans wait a moment. Three 
turns of the needle will finish this toe, and then you may 
have as good a pair of hose as ever were knitted (owning the 
yarn is a grain too sharp) to sell to the hosier on the Heireen 
Gracht.f That will give us three quarter-guilders if you make 
good trade; and as it's right hungry weather, you may buy 
four waffles. We'll keep the Feast of Saint Nicholas after all." 

* The Dutch cent is worth less than half of an American cent. 
t A street in Amsterdam. 

[50] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

Gretel clapped her hands. 'That will be fine! Annie 
Bouman told me what grand times they will have in the big 
houses to-night. But we will be merry, too. Hans will have 
beautiful new skates, and then there'll be the waffles! Oh-h! 
Don't break them, brother Hans. Wrap them well, and but- 
ton them under your jacket very carefully." 

"Certainly," replied Hans quite gruff with pleasure and 
importance. 

"Oh! mother!" cried Gretel in high glee, "soon you will 
be busied with the father, and now you are only knitting. 
Do tell us all about Saint Nicholas!" 

Dame Brinker laughed to see Hans hang up his hat and 
prepare to listen. ' Nonsense, children," she said, " I have told 
it to you often." 

"Tell us again! oh, do tell us again!" cried Gretel, throw- 
ing herself upon the wonderful wooden bench that her brother 
had made on the mother's last birthday. Hans, not wishing 
to appear childish, and yet quite willing to hear the story, 
stood carelessly swinging his skates against the fireplace. 

"Well, children, you shall hear it, but we must never waste 
the daylight again in this way. Pick up your ball, Gretel, 
and let your sock grow as I talk. Opening your ears needn't 
shut your fingers. Saint Nicholas, you must know, is a won- 
derful saint. He keeps his eye open for the good of sailors, 
but he cares most of all for boys and girls. Well, once upon a 
time, when he was living on the earth, a merchant of Asia sent 
his three sons to a great city, called Athens, to get learning." 

:< Is Athens in Holland, mother?" asked Gretel. 

: 'I don't know, child. Probably it is." 

[51] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

"Oh, no, mother," said Hans, respectfully. "I had that 
in my geography lessons long ago. Athens is in Greece." 

'Well," resumed the mother, "what matter? Greece may 
belong to the King, for aught we know. Anyhow, this rich 
merchant sent his sons to Athens. While they were on their 
way, they stopped one night at a shabby inn, meaning to take 
up their journey in the morning. Well, they had very fine 
clothes, velvet and silk, it may be, such as rich folks* chil- 
dren, all over the world, think nothing of wearing and their 
belts, likewise, were full of money. What did the wicked 
landlord do, but contrive a plan to kill the children, and take 
their money and all their beautiful clothes himself. So that 
night, when all the world was asleep, he got up and killed the 
three young gentlemen." 

Gretel clasped her hands and shuddered, but Hans tried 
to look as if killing and murder were every-day matters to him. 

'That was not the worst of it," continued Dame Brinker, 
knitting slowly, and trying to keep count of her stitches as she 
talked, ; 'that was not near the worst of it. The dreadful 
landlord went and cut up the young gentlemen's bodies into 
little pieces, and threw them into a great tub of brine, intending 
to sell them for pickled pork!" 

"OH!" cried Gretel, horror-stricken, though she had often 
heard the story before. Hans still continued unmoved, and 
seemed to think that pickling was the best that could be done 
under the circumstances. 

'Yes, he pickled them, and one might think that would 
have been the last of the young gentlemen. But no. That 

night Saint Nicholas had a wonderful vision, and in it he saw 

[52] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

the landlord cutting up the merchant's children. There was 
no need of his hurrying, you know, for he was a saint; but in 
the morning he went to the inn and charged the landlord with 
the murder. Then the wicked landlord confessed it from be- 
ginning to end, and fell down on his knees, begging forgive- 
ness. He felt so sorry for what he had done that he asked the 
saint to bring the young masters to life." 

"And did the saint do it?" asked Gretel, delighted, well 
knowing what the answer would be. 

"Of course he did. The pickled pieces flew together in an 
instant, and out jumped the young gentlemen from the brine- 
tub. They cast themselves at the feet of Saint Nicholas and 
he gave them his blessing, and oh! mercy on us, Hans, it 
will be dark before you get back if you don't start this minute ! " 

By this time Dame Brinker was almost out of breath and 
quite out of commas. She could not remember when she 
had seen the children idle away an hour of daylight in this 
manner, and the thought of such luxury quite appalled her. 
By way of compensation she now flew about the room in ex- 
treme haste. Tossing a block of peat upon the fire, blowing 
invisible dust from the table, and handing the finished hose 
to Hans, all in an instant 

"Come, Hans," she said, as her boy lingered by the door, 
"what keeps thee?" 

Hans kissed his mother's plump cheek, rosy and fresh yet, 
in spite of all her troubles "my mother is the best in the 
world, and I would be right glad to have a pair of skates, but" 
and, as he buttoned his jacket, he looked, in a troubled way, 

toward a strange figure crouching by the hearthstone "if 

[53] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

my money would bring a meester* from Amsterdam to see 
the father, something might yet be done." 

"A meester would not come, Hans, for twice that money; 
and it would do no good if he did. Ah ! how many guilders I 
once spent for that; but the dear, good father would not 
waken. It is God's will. Go, Hans, and buy the skates." 

Hans started with a heavy heart, but since the heart was 
young, and in the boy's bosom, it set him whistling in less than 
five minutes. His mother had said 'thee" to him, and that 
was quite enough to make even a dark day sunny. Hol- 
landers do not address each other, in affectionate intercourse, 
as the French and Germans do. But Dame Brinker had em- 
broidered for a Heidelberg family in her girlhood, and she had 
carried its : 'thee" and :< thou" into her rude home, to be 
used in moments of extreme love and tenderness. 

Therefore, "What keeps thee, Hans?" sang an echo song 
beneath the boy's whistling, and made him feel that his errand 
was blest. 

* Doctor (dokter in Dutch) , called meester by the lower class. 



[54] 



VII 
HANS HAS HIS WAY 

BrlOEK, with its quiet, spotless streets, its frozen rivu- 
lets, its yellow brick pavements, and bright wooden 
houses, was near by. It was a village where neatness 
and show were in full blossom; but the inhabitants seemed 
to be either asleep or dead. 

Not a footprint marred the sanded paths, where pebbles 
and sea-shells lay in fanciful designs. Every window-shutter 
was closed as tightly as though air and sunshine were poison; 
and the massive front doors were never opened except on the 
occasion of a wedding, christening, or a funeral. 

Serene clouds of tobacco-smoke were floating through hid- 
den apartments, and children, who otherwise might have 
awakened the place, were studying in out-of-the-way corners, 
or skating upon the neighboring canal. A few peacocks and 
wolves stood in the gardens, but they had never enjoyed the 
luxury of flesh and blood. They were cut out in growing 
box, and seemed guarding the grounds with a sort of green 
ferocity. Certain lively automata, ducks, women and sports- 
men, were stowed away in summer-houses, waiting for the 
springtime, when they could be wound up, and rival their 
owners in animation; and the shining, tiled roofs, mosaic 
courtyards and polished house -trimmings flashed up a 
silent homage to the sky, where never a speck of dust could 

dwell. 

[55] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

Hans glanced toward the village, as he shook his silver 
kwartjes, and wondered whether it were really true, as he had 
often heard, that some of the people of Broek were so rich 
that they used kitchen utensils of solid gold. 

He had seen Mevrouw van Stoop's sweet-cheeses in mar- 
ket, and he knew that the lofty dame earned many a bright, 
silver guilder in selling them. But did she set the cream to 
rise in golden pans? Did she use a golden skimmer? When 
her cows were in winter quarters, were their tails really tied 
up with ribbons? 

These thoughts ran through his mind as he turned his face 
toward Amsterdam, not five miles away, on the other side of 
the frozen Y.* The ice upon the canal was perfect; but his 
wooden runners, so soon to be cast aside, squeaked a dismal 
farewell as he scraped and skimmed along. 

When crossing the Y, whom should he see skating toward 
him but the great Dr. Boekman, the most famous physician 
and surgeon in Holland. Hans had never met him before, but 
he had seen his engraved likeness in many of the shop-windows 
in Amsterdam. It was a face that one could never forget. 
Thin and lank, though a born Dutchman, with stern, blue 
eyes, and queer, compressed lips that seemed to say "no 
smiling permitted," he certainly was not a very jolly or so- 
ciable looking personage, nor one that a well-trained boy 
would care to accost unbidden. 

But Hans was bidden, and that, too, by a voice he seldom 
disregarded his own conscience. 

"Here comes the greatest doctor in the world," whispered 

* Pronounced EYE, an arm of the Zuider Zee. 

[56] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

the voice, "God has sent him; you have no right to buy 
skates when you might, with the same money, purchase such 
aid for your father!" 

The wooden runners gave an exultant squeak. Hundreds 
of beautiful skates were gleaming and vanishing in the air 
above him. He felt the money tingle in his fingers. The old 
doctor looked fearfully grim and forbidding. Hans' heart 
was in his throat, but he found voice enough to cry out, 
just as he was passing: 

"Mynheer Boekman!" 

The great man halted, and sticking out his thin under 
lip, looked scowlingly about him. 

Hans was in for it now. 

"Mynheer," he panted, drawing close to the fierce-looking 
doctor, "I knew you could be none other than the famous 
Boekman. I have to ask a great favor " 

"Humph!" muttered the doctor, preparing to skate past 
the intruder "Get out of the way I've no money never 
give to beggars." 

"I am no beggar, Mynheer," retorted Hans proudly, at 
the same time producing his mite of silver with a grand 
air, "I wish to consult with you about my father. He is a 
living man, but sits like one dead. He cannot think. His 
words mean nothing but he is not sick. He fell on the 
dykes." 

"Hey? what?" cried the doctor beginning to listen. 

Hans told the whole story in an incoherent way, dashing 
off a tear once or twice as he talked, and finally ending with 

an earnest, 

[571 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

"Oh, do see him, Mynheer. His body is well it is only 
his mind I know this money is not enough; but take it, 
Mynheer, I will earn more I know I will Oh! I will toil 
for you all my life, if you will but cure my father!" 

What was the matter with the old doctor? A brightness 
like sunlight beamed from his face. His eyes were kind and 
moist; the hand that had lately clutched his cane, as if pre- 
paring to strike, was laid gently upon Hans' shoulder. 

"Put up your money, boy, I do not want it we will see 
your father. It is a hopeless case, I fear. How long did you 
say?" 

'Ten years, Mynheer," sobbed Hans, radiant with sudden 
hope. 

"Ah! a bad case; but I shall see him. Let me think. 
To-day I start for Leyden, to return in a week, then you may 
expect me. Where is it?" 

"A mile south of Broek, Mynheer, near the canal. It is 
only a poor, broken-down hut. Any of the children there- 
about can point it out to your honor," added Hans, with a 
heavy sigh; : 'they are all half afraid of the place; they call 
it the idiot's cottage." 

'That will do," said the doctor, hurrying on, with a bright 
backward nod at Hans, "I shall be there. A hopeless case," 
he muttered to himself, "but the boy pleases me. His eye is 
like my poor Laurens'. Confound it, shall I never forget that 
young scoundrel?" and, scowling more darkly than ever, the 
doctor pursued his silent way. 

Again Hans was skating toward Amsterdam on the squeak- 
ing wooden runners; again his fingers tingled against the 

[58] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

money in his pocket; again the boyish whistle rose uncon- 
sciously to his lips: 

"Shall I hurry home," he was thinking, "to tell the good 
news, or shall I get the waffles and the new skates first? Whew ! 
I think I'll go on!" 

And so Hans bought the skates. 



[59] 



VIII 
INTRODUCING JACOB FOOT AND HIS COUSIN 

HANS and Gretel had a fine frolic early on that Saint 
Nicholas' eve. There was a bright moon; and their 
mother, though she believed herself to be without 
any hope of her husband's improvement, had been made so 
happy at the prospect of the meester's visit, that she had 
yielded to the children's entreaties for an hour's skating be- 
fore bedtime. 

Hans was delighted with his new skates, and in his eager- 
ness to show Gretel how perfectly they "worked" did many 
things upon the ice that caused the little maid to clasp her 
hands in solemn admiration. They were not alone, though 
they seemed quite unheeded by the various groups assembled 
upon the canal. 

The two van Holps and Carl Schummel were there, test- 
ing their fleetness to the utmost. Out of four trials Peter van 
Holp had beaten three times. Consequently Carl, never very 
amiable, was in anything but a good humor. He had relieved 
himself by taunting young Schimmelpenninck who, being 
smaller than the others, kept meekly near them, without feel- 
ing exactly like one of the party; but now a new thought seized 
Carl, or rather he seized the new thought and made an onset 
upon his friends. 

"I say, boys, let's put a stop to those young rag-pickers 
from the idiot's cottage joining the race. Hilda must be crazy 
to think of it. Katrinka Flack and Rychie Korbes are furious 

[60] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

at the very idea of racing with the girl; and for my part, I 
don't blame them. As for the boy, if we've a spark of manhood 
in us we will scorn the very idea of " 

"Certainly we will!" interposed Peter Van Holp, purposely 
mistaking Carl's meaning, "Who doubts it? No fellow with 
a spark of manhood in him would refuse to let in two good 
skaters just because they were poor!" 

Carl wheeled about savagely 

: 'Not so fast, master! and I'd thank you not to put words 
in other people's mouths. You'd best not try it again." 

"Ha! ha!" laughed little Voostenwalbert Schimmelpen- 
ninck, delighted at the prospect of a fight, and sure that, if 
it should come to blows, his favorite Peter could beat a dozen 
excitable fellows like Carl. 

Something in Peter's eye made Carl glad to turn to a weaker 
offender. He wheeled furiously upon Voost. 

'What are you shrieking about, you little weasel? You 
skinny herring you, you little monkey with a long name for 
a tail!" 

Half-a-dozen by-standers and by-skaters set up an ap- 
plauding shout at this brave witticism; and Carl, feeling that 
he had fairly vanquished his foes, was restored to partial good 
humor. He, however, prudently resolved to defer plotting 
against Hans and Gretel until some time when Peter should 
not be present. 

Just then his friend, Jacob Poot, was seen approaching. 
They could not distinguish his features at first; but as he was 
the stoutest boy in the neighborhood there could be no mis- 
taking his form. 

[61] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

"Hola! here comes Fatty!" exclaimed Carl, "and there's 
some one with him, a slender fellow, a stranger." 

"Ha! ha! that's like good bacon," cried Ludwig; "a streak 
of lean and a streak of fat." 

'That's Jacob's English cousin," put in Master Voost, 
delighted at being able to give the information, "that's his 
English cousin, and, oh! he's got such a funny little name, 
BEN DOBBS. He's going to stay with him until after the grand 



race.' 



All this time the boys had been spinning, turning, "roll- 
ing" and doing other feats upon their skates, in a quiet way, 
as they talked; but now they stood still, bracing themselves 
against the frosty air as Jacob Foot and his friend drew 
near. 

'This is my cousin, boys," said Jacob, rather out of breath 
"Benjamin Dobbs. He's a John Bull and he's going to be 
in the race." 

All crowded, boy-fashion, about the newcomers. Ben- 
jamin soon made up his mind that the Hollanders, not- 
withstanding their queer gibberish, were a fine set of 
fellows. 

If the truth must be told, Jacob had announced his cousin 
as "Penchamin Dopps," and called him a "Shon Pull," but 
as I translate every word of the conversation of our young 
friends, it is no more than fair to mend their little attempts 
at English. Master Dobbs felt at first decidedly awkward 
among his cousin's friends. Though most of them had studied 
English and French, they were shy about attempting to speak 

either, and he made very funny blunders when he tried to 

[62] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

converse in Dutch. He had learned that vrouw means wife, 
and ja, yes; and spoorweg, railway; kanaals, canals; stoom- 
boot, steamboat; ophaalbruggen, drawbridges; buiten plasten, 
country seats; mynheer, 'mister'; tweegevegt, duel or two- 
fights; koper, copper; zadel, saddle; but he could not make a 
sentence out of these, nor use the long list of phrases he had 
learned in his "Dutch dialogues." The topics of the latter 
were fine, but were never alluded to by the boys. Like the 
poor fellow who had learned in Ollendorf to ask in faultless 
German 'have you seen my grandmother's red cow?' and when 
he reached Germany discovered that he had no occasion to 
inquire after that interesting animal, Ben found that his book- 
Dutch did not avail him as much as he had hoped. He 
acquired a hearty contempt for Jan van Gorp, a Hollander 
who wrote a book in Latin to prove that Adam and Eve spoke 
Dutch; and he smiled a knowing smile when his uncle Foot 
assured him that Dutch "had great likeness mit zinglish but 
it vash much petter languish, much better." 

However, the fun of skating glides over all barriers of 
speech. Through this, Ben soon felt that he knew the boys 
well; and when Jacob (with a sprinkling of French and Eng- 
lish for Ben's benefit) told of a grand project they had planned, 
his cousin could now and then put in a " ja," or a nod, in quite 
a familiar way. 

The project was a grand one, and there was to be a fine 
opportunity for carrying it out; for, besides the allotted holi- 
day of the Festival of Saint Nicholas, four extra days were to 
be allowed for a general cleaning of the schoolhouse. 

Jacob and Ben had obtained permission to go on a long 

[63] 



HANSBRINKER; OR, 

skating journey no less a one than from Broek to the Hague, 
the capital of Holland, a distance of nearly fifty miles! * 

"And now, boys," added Jacob, when he had told the 
plan, "who will go with us?" 

"I will! I will!" cried the boys eagerly. 

"And so will I!" ventured little Voostenwalbert. 

"Ha! ha!" laughed Jacob, holding his fat sides, and shak- 
ing his puffy cheeks, ''you go? Such a little fellow as you? 
Why, youngster, you haven't left off your pads yet!" 

Now in Holland very young children wear a thin, padded 
cushion around their heads, surmounted with a framework of 
whalebone and ribbon, to protect them in case of a fall; and 
it is the dividing line between babyhood and childhood when 
they leave it off. Voost had arrived at this dignity several 
years before; consequently Jacob's insult was rather too great 
for endurance. 

"Look out what you say!" he squeaked. "Lucky for you 
when you can leave off your pads you're padded all over!" 

"Ha! ha!" roared all the boys except Master Dobbs, who 
could not understand. "Ha! ha!" and the good-natured 
Jacob laughed more than any. 

"It ish my fat yaw he say I bees pad mit fat!" he ex- 
plained to Ben. 

So a vote was passed unanimously in favor of allowing 
the now popular Voost to join the party, if his parents would 
consent. 

* Throughout this narrative distances are given according to our 
standard, the English statute mile of 5280 ft. The Dutch mile is more 
than four times as long as ours. 

[64] 



THE SILVER SKATES 



" Good-night !" sang out the happy youngster, skating 
homeward with all his might. 

"Good-night!" 

'We can stop at Haarlem, Jacob, and show your cousin 
the big organ," said Peter van Holp, eagerly, "and at Leyden, 
too, where there's no end to the sights; and spend a day and 
night at the Hague, for my married sister, who lives there, 
will be delighted to see us ; and the next morning we can start 
for home." 

"All right!" responded Jacob, who was not much of a 
talker. 

Ludwig had been regarding his brother with enthusiastic 
admiration. 

"Hurrab for you, Pete! It takes you to make plans! 
Mother'll be as full of it as we are when we tell her we can 
take her love direct to sister Van Gend. My! but it's cold," 
he added, "cold enough to take a fellow's head off his shoul- 
ders. We'd better go home." 

'What if it is cold, old Tender-skin?" cried Carl, who 
was busily practicing a step which he called the "double edge." 
" Great skating we should have by this time, if it was as warm 
as it was last December. Don't you know if it wasn't an extra 
cold winter, and an early one into the bargain, we couldn't 
go?" 

"I know it's an extra cold night anyhow," said Ludwig. 
'Whew! I'm going home!" 

Peter van Holp took out a bulgy gold watch, and holding 
it toward the moonlight as well as his benumbed fingers would 
permit, called out: 

[65] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

"Hello! it's nearly eight o'clock! Saint Nicholas is about 
by this time, and I, for one, want to see the little ones stare. 
Good-night!" 

"Good-night!" cried one and all, and off they started, 
shouting, singing, and laughing as they flew along. 

Where were Gretel and Hans? 

Ah! how suddenly joy sometimes comes to an end! 

They had skated about an hour, keeping aloof from the 
others quite contented with each other, and Gretel had ex- 
claimed, "Ah, Hans, how beautiful! how fine! to think that 
we both have skates! I tell you the stork brought us good- 
luck!" -when they heard something! 

It was a scream a very faint scream! No one else upon 
the canal observed it, but Hans knew its meaning too well. 
Gretel saw him turn white in the moonlight as he hastily tore 
off his skates. 

"The father!" he cried, "he has frightened our mother!" 
and Gretel ran after him toward the house as rapidly as she 
could. 



[66] 



IX 
THE FESTIVAL OF SAINT NICHOLAS 

"IT IT "THE all know how, before the Christmas tree began 
\/\/ to flourish in the home-life of our country, a cer- 
tain "right jolly old elf," with "eight tiny rein- 
deer," used to drive his sleigh-load of toys up to our house- 
tops, and then bound down the chimney to fill the stockings so 
hopefully hung by the fireplace. His friends called him Santa 
Claus, and those who were most intimate ventured to say 
"Old Nick." It was said that he originally came from Hol- 
land. Doubtless he did; but if so, he certainly, like many 
other foreigners, changed his ways very much after landing 
upon our shores. In Holland, Saint Nicholas is a veritable 
saint, and often appears in full costume, with his embroidered 
robes, glittering with gems and gold, his mitre, his crozier 
and his jeweled gloves. Here Santa Claus comes rollicking 
along, on the twenty-fifth of December, our holy Christmas 
morn. But in Holland Saint Nicholas visits earth on the fifth, 
a time especially appropriated to him. Early on the morning 
of the sixth he distributes his candies, toys and treasures, then 
vanishes for a year. 

Christmas day is devoted by the Hollanders to church 
rites and pleasant family visiting. It is on Saint Nicholas' 
Eve that their young people become half wild with joy and 
expectation. To some of them it is a sorry time, for the saint 
is very candid, and if any of them have been bad during the 

past year, he is quite sure to tell them so. Sometimes he 

[67] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

carries a birch rod under his arm and advises the parents to 
give them scoldings in place of confections, and floggings in- 
stead of toys. 

It was well that the boys hastened to their abodes on that 
bright winter evening, for in less than an hour afterwards, the 
saint made his appearance in half the homes of Holland. He 
visited the king's palace and in the self-same moment ap- 
peared in Annie Bouman's comfortable home. Probably one 
of our silver half-dollars would have purchased all that his 
saintship left at the peasant Bouman's: but a half dollar's 
worth will sometimes do for the poor what hundreds of dollars 
may fail to do for the rich; it makes them happy and grate- 
ful, fills them with new peace and love. 

Hilda van Gleck's little brothers and sisters were in a 
high state of excitement that night. They had been admitted 
into the grand parlor; they were dressed in their best, and 
had been given two cakes apiece at supper. Hilda was as 
joyous as any. Why not? Saint Nicholas would never cross 
a girl of fourteen from his list, just because she was tall and 
looked almost like a woman. On the contrary, he would prob- 
ably exert himself to do honor to such an august-looking 
damsel. Who could tell? So she sported and laughed and 
danced as gaily as the youngest, and was the soul of all their 
merry games. Father, mother and grandmother looked on 
approvingly; so did grandfather, before he spread his large 
red handkerchief over his face, leaving only the top of his 
skull-cap visible. This kerchief was his ensign of sleep. 

Earlier in the evening all had joined in the fun. In the 
general hilarity, there had seemed to be a difference only in 

[68] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

bulk between grandfather and the baby. Indeed, a shade of 
solemn expectation now and then flitting across the faces of 
the younger members, had made them seem rather more 
thoughtful than their elders. 

Now the spirit of fun reigned supreme. The very flames 
danced and capered in the polished grate. A pair of prim 
candles that had been staring at the Astral lamp began to 
wink at other candles far away in the mirrors. There was a 
long bell-rope suspended from the ceiling in the corner, made 
of glass beads netted over a cord nearly as thick as your wrist. 
It generally hung in the shadow and made no sign; but to- 
night it twinkled from end to end. Its handle of crimson 
glass sent reckless dashes of red at the papered wall, turning 
its dainty blue stripes into purple. Passers-by halted to catch 
the merry laughter floating, through curtain and sash, into 
the street, then skipped on their way with a startled con- 
sciousness that the village was wide awake. At last matters 
grew so uproarious that the grandsire's red kerchief came down 
from his face with a jerk. What decent old gentleman could 
sleep in such a racket! Mynheer van Gleck regarded his 
children with astonishment. The baby even showed symptoms 
of hysterics. It was high time to attend to business. Madame 
suggested that if they wished to see the good Saint Nicholas, 
they should sing the same loving invitation that had brought 
him the year before. 

The baby stared and thrust his fist into his mouth as myn- 
heer put him down upon the floor. Soon he sat erect, and 
looked with a sweet scowl at the company. With his lace 

and embroideries, and his crown of blue ribbon and whale- 

[69] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

bone (for he was not quite past the tumbling age), he looked 
like the king of the babies. 

The other children, each holding a pretty willow basket, 
formed at once in a ring, and moved slowly around the little 
fellow, lifting their eyes meanwhile, for the saint to whom 
they were about to address themselves was yet in mysterious 
quarters. 

Madame commenced playing softly upon the piano; soon 
the voices rose gentle youthful voices rendered all the 
sweeter for their tremor: 

"Welcome, friend! Saint Nicholas, welcome! 

Bring no rod for us, to-night! 
While our voices bid thee welcome, 
Every heart with joy is light ! 

Tell us every fault and failing 
We will bear thy keenest railing, 
So we sing so we sing 
Thou shalt tell us everything! 

Welcome, friend! Saint Nicholas, welcome! 

Welcome to this merry band! 
Happy children greet thee, welcome! 

Thou art glad'ning all the land ! 

Fill each empty hand and basket, 
'Tis thy little ones who ask it, 
So we sing so we sing 
Thou wilt bring us every thing!" 

During the chorus, sundry glances, half in eagerness, half 
in dread, had been cast towards the polished folding doors. 
Now a loud knocking was heard. The circle was broken in an 
instant. Some of the little ones, with a strange mixture of 

fear and delight, pressed against their mother's knee. Grand- 

[70] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

father bent forward, with his chin resting upon his hand; 
grandmother lifted her spectacles ; Mynheer van Gleck, seated 
by the fireplace, slowly drew his meerschaum from his mouth, 
while Hilda and the other children settled themselves beside 
him in an expectant group. 

The knocking was heard again. 

"Come in," said Madame, softly. 

The door slowly opened, and Saint Nicholas, in full array, 
stood before them. You could have heard a pin drop! Soon 
he spoke. What a mysterious majesty in his voice! what 
kindliness in his tones ! 

"Karel van Gleck, I am pleased to greet thee, and thy 
honored vrouw Kathrine, and thy son and his good vrouw 
Annie! 

"Children, I greet ye all! Hendrick, Hilda, Broom, Katy, 
Huygens, and Lucretia! And thy cousins, Wolfert, Diedrich, 
Mayken, Voost, and Katrina! Good children ye have been, 
in the main, since I last accosted ye. Diedrich was rude at 
the Haarlem fair last Fall, but he has tried to atone for it 
since. Mayken has failed of late in her lessons, and too many 
sweets and trifles have gone to her lips, and too few stivers 
to her charity -box. Diedrich, I trust, will be a polite, manly 
boy for the future, and Mayken will endeavor to shine as a 
student. Let her remember, too, that economy and thrift 
are needed in the foundation of a worthy and generous life. 
Little Katy has been cruel to the cat more than once. Saint 
Nicholas can hear the cat cry when its tail is pulled. I will 
forgive her if she will remember from this hour that the small- 
est dumb creatures have feelings and must not be abused." 

[71] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

As Katy burst into a frightened cry, the Saint graciously 
remained silent until she was soothed. 

'Master Broom," he resumed, 'I warn thee that boys 
who are in the habit of putting snuff upon the foot-stove of the 
school-mistress may one day be discovered and receive a 
flogging- 

[Master Broom colored and stared in great astonishment.] 

'But thou art such an excellent scholar, I shall make thee 
no further reproof. 

'Thou, Hendrick, didst distinguish thyself in the archery 
match last Spring, and hit the Doel,* though the bird was 
swung before it to unsteady thine eye. I give thee credit 
for excelling in manly sport and exercise though I must not 
unduly countenance thy boat-racing since it leaves thee too 
little time for thy proper studies. 

'Lucretia and Hilda shall have a blessed sleep to-night. 
The consciousness of kindness to the poor, devotion in their 
souls, and cheerful, hearty obedience to household rule will 
render them happy. 

'With one and all I avow myself well content. Goodness, 
industry, benevolence and thrift have prevailed in your midst. 
Therefore, my blessing upon you and may the New Year 
find all treading the paths of obedience, wisdom and love. 
To-morrow you shall find more substantial proofs that I have 
been in your midst. Farewell!" 

! With these words came a great shower of sugar-plums, 
upon a linen sheet spread out in front of the doors. A general 
scramble followed. The children fairly tumbled over each 

* Bull's-Eye. 
[72] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

other in their eagerness to fill their baskets. Madame cau- 
tiously held the baby down in their midst, till the chubby 
little fists were filled. Then the bravest of the youngsters 
sprang up and burst open the closed doors in vain they peered 
into the mysterious apartment Saint Nicholas was nowhere 
to be seen. 

Soon there was a general rush to another room, where 
stood a table, covered with the finest and whitest of linen 
damask. Each child, in a flutter of excitement, laid a shoe 
upon it. The door was then carefully locked, and its key 
hidden in the mother's bedroom. Next followed good-night 
kisses, a grand family-procession to the upper floor, merry 
farewells at bedroom doors and silence, at last, reigned in the 
van Gleck mansion. 



Early the next morning the door was solemnly unlocked 
and opened in the presence of the assembled household, when 
lo! a sight appeared proving Saint Nicholas to be a saint of 
his word! 

Every shoe was filled to overflowing, and beside each 
stood many a colored pile. The table was heavy with its load 
of presents candies, toys, trinkets, books and other articles. 
Every one had gifts, from grandfather down to the baby. 

Little Katy clapped her hands with glee, and vowed, in- 
wardly, that the cat should never know another moment's 
grief. 

Hendrick capered about the room, flourishing a superb 
bow and arrows over his head. Hilda laughed with delight 

as she opened a crimson box and drew forth its glittering 

[73] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

contents. The rest chuckled and said "Oh!" and "Ah!" over 
their treasures, very much as we did here in America on last 
Christmas day. 

With her glittering necklace in her hands, and a pile of 
books in her arms, Hilda stole towards her parents and held 
up her beaming face for a kiss. There was such an earnest, 
tender look in her bright eyes that her mother breathed a 
blessing as she leaned over her. 

'I am delighted with this book, thank you, father," she 
said, touching the top one with her chin. : 'I shall read it all 
day long." 

"Aye, sweetheart," said Mynheer, "you cannot do better. 
There is no one like Father Cats. If my daughter learns his 
'MORAL EMBLEMS' by heart, the mother and I may keep 
silent. The work you have there is the Emblems his best 
work. You will find it enriched with rare engravings from 
Van de Venne." 

[Considering that the back of the book was turned away, 
Mynheer certainly showed a surprising familiarity with an 
unopened volume, presented by Saint Nicholas. It was 
strange, too, that the saint should have found certain things 
made by the elder children, and had actually placed them 
upon the table, labeled with parents' and grandparents' names. 
But all were too much absorbed in happiness to notice slight 
inconsistencies. Hilda saw, on her father's face, the rapt ex- 
pression he always wore when he spoke of Jacob Cats, so she 
put her armful of books upon the table and resigned herself 
to listen.] 

" Old Father Cats, my child, was a great poet, not a writer 

[74] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

of plays like the Englishman, Shakespeare, who lived in his 
time. I have read them in the German and very good they 
are very, very good but not like Father Cats. Cats sees 
no daggers in the air; he has no white women falling in love 
with dusky Moors; no young fools sighing to be a lady's 
glove; no crazy princes mistaking respectable old gentlemen 
for rats. No, no. He writes only sense. It is great wisdom 
in little bundles, a bundle for every day of your life. You can 
guide a state with Cats' poems, and you can put a little baby 
to sleep with his pretty songs. He was one of the greatest men 
of Holland. When I take you to the Hague I will show you 
the Kloosterkerk where he lies buried. There was a man for 
you to study, my sons! he was good through and through. 
What did he say? 

" 'Oh, Lord, let me obtain this from Thee, 

To live with patience, and to die with pleasure ! ' * 

"Did patience mean folding his hands? No, he was a 
lawyer, statesman, ambassador, farmer, philosopher, histo- 
rian, and poet. He was keeper of the Great Seal of Holland! 
He was a Bah! there is too much noise here, I cannot talk" 
and Mynheer, looking with astonishment into the bowl of 
his meerschaum for it had 'gone out' nodded to his vrouw 
and left the apartment in great haste. 

The fact is, his discourse had been accompanied through- 
out with a subdued chorus of barking dogs, squeaking cats 
and bleating lambs, to say nothing of a noisy ivory cricket 
that the baby was whirling with infinite delight. At the last, 

* O Heere laat my dat van uwen hand verwerven, 
Te leven met gedult, en met vermaak te sterven. 

[75] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

little Huygens taking advantage of the increasing loudness of 
Mynheer's tones, had ventured a blast on his new trumpet, 
and Wolfert had hastily attempted an accompaniment on the 
drum. This had brought matters to a crisis, and well for the 
little creatures that it had. The saint had left no ticket for 
them to attend a lecture on Jacob Cats. It was not an ap- 
pointed part of the ceremonies. Therefore when the young- 
sters saw that the mother looked neither frightened nor of- 
fended, they gathered new courage. The grand chorus rose 
triumphant, and frolic and joy reigned supreme. 

Good Saint Nicholas! For the sake of the young Hol- 
landers, I, for one, am willing to acknowledge him, and defend 
his reality against all unbelievers. 

Carl Schummel was quite busy during that day, assuring 
little children confidentially that not Saint Nicholas, but their 
own fathers and mothers, had produced the oracle and loaded 
the tables. But we know better than that. 

And yet if this were a saint, why did he not visit the 
Brinker cottage that night? Why was that one home, so dark 
and sorrowful, passed by? 



[76] 



X 

WHAT THE BOYS SAW AND DID IN AMSTERDAM 

** A RE we all here?" cried Peter, in high glee, as the party 
/-% assembled upon the canal early the next morning, 
equipped for their skating journey. 

"Let me see. As Jacob has made me captain, I must call 
the roll. Carl Schummel You here?" 

"Ya!" 

"Jacob Foot!" 

"Ya!" 

" Benjamin Dobbs!" 

"Ya-a!" 

"Lambert van Mounen!" 

"Ya!" 

"[That's lucky! Couldn't get on without you, as you're 
the only one who can speak English.] Ludwig van Holp!" 

"Ya!" 

' Voostenwalbert Schimmelpenninck ! " 

No answer. 

"Ah! the little rogue has been kept at home. Now, boys, 
it's just eight o'clock glorious weather, and the Y is as firm 
as a rock we'll be at Amsterdam in thirty minutes. One, 
Two, Three, START!" 

True enough, in less than half an hour they had crossed 
a dyke of solid masonry, and were in the very heart of the 
great metropolis of the Netherlands a walled city of ninety- 
five islands and nearly two hundred bridges. Although Ben 

[77] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

had been there twice since his arrival in Holland, he saw much 
to excite wonder; but his Dutch comrades, having lived near by 
all their lives, considered it the most matter-of-course place 
in the world. Everything interested Ben; the tall houses 
with their forked chimneys and gable ends facing the street; 
the merchants' warerooms, perched high up under the roofs 
of their dwellings, with long, arm-like cranes hoisting and 
lowering goods past the household windows; the grand public 
buildings erected upon wooden piles driven deep into the 
marshy ground; the narrow streets; the canals everywhere 
crossing the city; the bridges; the locks; the various cos- 
tumes, and, strangest of all, shops and dwellings crouching 
close to the fronts of the churches, sending their long, dispro- 
portionate chimneys far upward along the sacred walls. 

If he looked up, he saw tall, leaning houses, seeming to 
pierce the sky with their shining roofs; if he looked down, 
there was the queer street, without crossing or curb nothing 
to separate the cobble-stone pavement from the foot-path of 
brick and if he rested his eyes half way, he saw complicated 
little mirrors [spionnen] fastened upon the outside of nearly 
every window, so arranged that the inmates of the houses 
could observe all that was going on in the street, or inspect 
whoever might be knocking at the door, without being seen 
themselves. 

Sometimes a dog-cart, heaped with wooden ware, passed 
him; then a donkey bearing a pair of panniers filled with 
crockery or glass; then a sled driven over the bare cobble- 
stones (the runners kept greased with a dripping oil rag so 
that it might run easily); and then, perhaps, a showy, but 

[78] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

clumsy family carriage, drawn by the brownest of Flanders 
horses, swinging the whitest of snowy tails. 

The city was in full festival array. Every shop was gor- 
geous in honor of Saint Nicholas. Captain Peter was forced, 
more than once, to order his men away from the tempting 
show-windows, where everything that is, has been, or can be 
thought of in the way of toys was displayed. Holland is fa- 
mous for this branch of manufacture. Every possible thing is 
copied in miniature for the benefit of the little ones; the in- 
tricate mechanical toys that a Dutch youngster tumbles about 
in stolid unconcern would create a stir in our Patent Office. 
Ben laughed outright at some of the mimic fishing boats. They 
were so heavy and stumpy, so like the queer craft that he had 
seen about Rotterdam. The tiny trekschuiten, however, only 
a foot or two long, and fitted out, complete, made his heart 
ache he so longed to buy one at once for his little brother 
in England. He had no money to spare, for with true Dutch 
prudence the party had agreed to take with them merely the 
sum required for each boy's expenses, and to consign the purse 
to Peter for safe keeping. Consequently Master Ben concluded 
to devote all his energies to sight seeing, and to think as sel- 
dom as possible of little Robby. 

He made a hasty call at the Marine school and envied the 
sailor-students their full-rigged brig and their sleeping-berths 
swung over their trunks or lockers; he peeped into the Jews* 
Quarter of the city, where the rich diamond cutters and 
squalid old-clothes men dwell, and wisely resolved to keep 
away from it; he also enjoyed hasty glimpses of the four prin- 
cipal avenues of Amsterdam the Prinsen gracht, Keizers 

[79] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

gracht, Heeren gracht and Singel. These are semi-circular in 
form, and the first three average more than two miles in length. 
A canal runs through the centre of each, with a well- paved road 
on either side, lined with stately buildings. Rows of naked 
elms, bordering the canal, cast a network of shadows over its 
frozen surface; and everything was so clean and bright that 
Ben told Lambert it seemed to him like petrified neatness. 

Fortunately the weather was cold enough to put a stop 
to the usual street-flooding and window-washing, or our young 
excursionists might have been drenched more than once. 
Sweeping, mopping and scrubbing form a passion with Dutch 
housewives, and to soil their spotless mansions is considered 
scarcely less than a crime. Everywhere a hearty contempt 
is felt for those who neglect to rub the soles of their shoes to 
a polish before crossing the door-sill; and, in certain places, 
visitors are expected to remove their heavy shoes before en- 
tering. 

Sir William Temple, in his Memoirs of 'What passed in 
Christendom from 1672 to 1679," tells a story of a pompous 
magistrate going to visit a lady of Amsterdam. A stout Hol- 
land lass opened the door, and told him in a breath that the 
lady was at home and that his shoes were not very clean. 
Without another word, she took the astonished man up by 
both arms, threw him across her back, carried him through 
two rooms, set him down at the bottom of the stairs, seized 
a pair of slippers that stood there and put them upon his feet. 
Then, and not until then, she spoke, telling him that her mis- 
tress was on the floor above, and that he might go up. 

While Ben was skating, with his friends, upon the crowded 

[80] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

canals of the city, he found it difficult to believe that the sleepy 
Dutchmen he saw around him, smoking their pipes so leisurely, 
and looking as though their hats might be knocked off their 
heads without their making any resistance, were capable of 
those outbreaks that had taken place in Holland that they 
were really fellow-countrymen of the brave, devoted heroes of 
whom he had read in Dutch history. 

As his party skimmed lightly along he told van Mounen 
of a burial-riot which in 1696 had occurred in that very city, 
where the women and children turned out, as well as the men, 
and formed mock funeral processions through the town, to 
show the burgomasters that certain new regulations, with 
regard to burying the dead, would not be acceded to how at 
last they grew so unmanageable, and threatened so much dam- 
age to the city, that the burgomasters were glad to recall the 
offensive law. 

'There's the corner," said Jacob, pointing to some large 
buildings, :< where, about fifteen years ago, the great corn- 
houses sank down in the mud. They were strong affairs, and 
set up on good piles, but they had over seventy thousand 
hundred- weight of corn in them; and that was too much." 

It was a long story for Jacob to tell and he stopped to rest. 

"How do you know there were seventy thousand hundred- 
weight in them?" asked Carl sharply "you were in your 
swaddling clothes then." 

"My father knows all about it," was Jacob's suggestive 
reply. Rousing himself with an effort, he continued "Ben 
likes pictures. Show him some." 

"All right," said the captain. 

[81] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

"If we had time, Benjamin," said Lambert van Mounen 
in English, 'I should like to take you to the City Hall 
or Stadhuis. There are building-piles for you! It is built 
on nearly fourteen thousand of them, driven seventy feet 
into the ground. But what I wish you to see there is the 
big picture of Van Speyk blowing up his ship great pic- 
ture." 

"Van who?" asked Ben. 

"Van Speyk. Don't you remember? He was in the height 
of an engagement with the Belgians, and when he found that 
they had the better of him and would capture his ship, he 
blew it up, and himself too, rather than yield to the enemy." 

"Wasn't that Van Tromp?" 

"Oh, no. Van Tromp was another brave fellow. They've 
a monument to him down at Delft Haven the place where 
the Pilgrims took ship for America." 

"Well, what about Van Tromp? He was a great Dutch 
Admiral; wasn't he?" 

"Yes, he was in more than thirty sea-fights. He beat the 
Spanish fleet and an English one, and then fastened a broom 
to his mast-head to show that he had swept the English from 
the sea. Takes the Dutch to beat, my boy!" 

"Hold up!" cried Ben, "broom or no broom, the English 
conquered him at last. I remember all about it now. He was 
killed somewhere on the Dutch coast, in an engagement in 
which the British fleet was victorious. Too bad," he added 
maliciously, "wasn't it?' : 

"Ahem! where are we?" exclaimed Lambert changing the 
subject. "Hello! the others are way ahead of us all but 

[82] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

Jacob. Whew ! how fat he is ! He'll break down before we're 
half-way." 

Ben, of course, enjoyed skating beside Lambert, who though 
a staunch Hollander, had been educated near London, and 
could speak English as fluently as Dutch ; but he was not sorry 
when Captain van Holp called out: 

"Skates off! There's the Museum!" 

It was open, and there was no charge on that day for ad- 
mission. In they went, shuffling, as boys will, when they have 
a chance, just to hear the sound of their shoes on the polished 
floor. 

This Museum is in fact a picture gallery where some of 
the finest works of the Dutch masters are to be seen, besides 
nearly two hundred portfolios of rare engravings. 

Ben noticed, at once, that some of the pictures were hung 
on panels fastened to the wall with hinges. These could be 
swung forward like a window-shutter, thus enabling the sub- 
ject to be seen in the best light. The plan served them well 
in viewing a small group by Gerard Douw, called the "Even- 
ing School," enabling them to observe its exquisite finish 'and 
the wonderful way in which the picture seemed to be lit through 
its own windows. Peter pointed out the beauties of another 
picture by Douw, called "The Hermit," and he also told them 
some interesting anecdotes of the artist, who was born at 
Ley den in 1613. 

'Three days painting a broom handle!" echoed Carl in 
astonishment, while the captain was giving some instances of 
Douw's extreme slowness of execution. 

"Yes, sir; three days. And it is said that he spent five 

[83] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

in finishing one hand in a lady's portrait. You see how very 
bright and minute everything is in this picture. His unfin- 
ished works were kept carefully covered, and his painting ma- 
terials were put away in air-tight boxes as soon as he had 
finished using them for the day. According to all accounts, 
the studio itself must have been as close as a band-box. The 
artist always entered it on tip-toe, besides sitting still, before 
he commenced work, until the slight dust caused by his en- 
trance had settled. I have read somewhere that his paintings 
are improved by being viewed through a magnifying glass. 
He strained his eyes so badly with this extra finishing that he 
was forced to wear spectacles before he was thirty. At forty 
he could scarcely see to paint, and he couldn't find a pair of 
glasses anywhere that would help his sight. At last a poor 
old German woman asked him to try hers. They suited him 
exactly, and enabled him to go on painting as well as ever." 

" Humph ! " exclaimed Ludwig, indignantly, " that was high ! 
What did she do without them, I wonder?" 

"Oh," said Peter, laughing, "likely she had another pair. 
At any rate she insisted upon his taking them. He was so 
grateful that he painted a picture of the spectacles for her, 
case and all, and she sold it to a burgomaster for a yearly 
allowance that made her comfortable for the rest of her days." 

"Boys!" called Lambert, in a loud whisper, "come look 
at this Bear Hunt." 

It was a fine painting by Paul Potter, a Dutch artist of 
the 17th century, who produced excellent works before he was 
sixteen years old. The boys admired it because the subject 
pleased them. They passed carelessly by the masterpieces of 

[84] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

Rembrandt and Van der Heist, and went into raptures over 
an ugly picture by Van der Venne, representing a sea-fight 
between the Dutch and English. They also stood spellbound 
before a painting of two little urchins, one of whom was taking 
soup and the other eating an egg. The principal merit in this 
work was that the young egg-eater had kindly slobbered his 
face with the yolk for their entertainment. 

An excellent representation of the "Feast of Saint Nicho- 
las" next had the honor of attracting them. 

"Look, van Mounen," said Ben to Lambert, "could any- 
thing be better than this youngster's face? He looks as if he 
knows he deserves a whipping but hopes Saint Nicholas may 
not have found him out. That's the kind of painting I like; 
something that tells a story." 

"Come, boys!" cried the captain, "ten o'clock, time we 
were off!" 

They hastened to the canal. 

"Skates on! Are you ready? ONE, TWO hollo! where's 
Foot?" 

Sure enough, where ivas Foot? 

A square opening had just been cut in the ice not ten 
yards off. Peter observed it, and without a word, skated 
rapidly toward it. 

All the others followed, of course. 

Peter looked in. They all looked in; then stared anxiously 
at each other. 

"Poot!" screamed Peter, peering into the hole again. All 
was still. The black water gave no sign; it was already glaz- 
ing on top. 

[85] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

Van Mounen turned mysteriously to Ben. 

"Didnt he have a fit once?'' 

'My goodness! yes!" answered Ben, in a great fright. 

'Then, depend upon it, he's been taken with one in the 
Museum!" 

The boys caught his meaning. Every skate was off in a 
twinkling. Peter had the presence of mind to scoop up a 
capful of water from the hole, and off they scampered to the 
rescue. 

Alas! They did indeed find poor Jacob in a fit but it 
was a fit of sleepiness. There he lay in a recess of the gallery, 
snoring like a trooper! The chorus of laughter that followed 
this discovery brought an angry official to the spot. 

"What now! None of this racket ! Here, you beer-barrel, 
wake up!" and master Jacob received a very unceremonious 
shaking. 

As soon as Peter saw that Jacob's condition was not 
serious, he hastened to the street to empty his unfortunate 
cap. While he was stuffing in his handkerchief to prevent the 
already frozen crown from touching his head, the rest of the 
boys came down, dragging the bewildered and indignant Jacob 
in their midst. 

The order to start was again given. Master Poot was wide 
awake at last. The ice was a little rough and broken just 
there, but every boy was in high spirits. 

"Shall we go on by the canal or the river?" asked Peter. 

"Oh, the river, by all means," said Carl. "It will be such 
fun; they say it is perfect skating all the way, but it's much 

farther." 

[86] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

Jacob Foot instantly became interested. 

"/ vote for the canal!" he cried. 

'Well, the canal it shall be," responded the captain, "if 
all are agreed." 

"Agreed!" they echoed, in rather a disappointed tone 
and Captain Peter led the way. 

"All right come on we can reach Haarlem in an hour!" 



187] 



XI 
BIG MANIAS AND LITTLE ODDITIES 

WHILE skating along at full speed, they heard the 
cars from Amsterdam coming close behind them. 
"Hollo!" cried Ludwig, glancing toward the 

rail-track ''who can't beat a locomotive? Let's give it a 
race!" 

The whistle screamed at the very idea so did the boys 
and at it they went. 

For an instant the boys were ahead, hurrahing with all 
their might only for an instant, but even that was some- 
thing. 

This excitement over, they began to travel more leisurely, 
and indulge in conversation and frolic. Sometimes they 
stopped to exchange a word with the guards who were sta- 
tioned at certain distances along the canal. These men, in 
Winter, attend to keeping the surface free from obstruction 
and garbage. After a snow-storm they are expected to sweep 
the feathery covering away before it hardens into a marble 
pretty to look at but very unwelcome to skaters. Now and 
then the boys so far forgot their dignity as to clamber among 
the ice-bound canal-boats crowded together in a widened har- 
bor off the canal, but the watchful guards would soon spy 
them out and order them down with a growl. 

Nothing could be straighter than the canal upon which our 
party were skating, and nothing straighter than the long rows of 

[88] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

willow trees that stood, bare and wispy, along the bank. On 
the opposite side, lifted high above the surrounding country, 
lay the carriage road on top of the great dyke built to keep 
the Haarlem Lake within bounds; stretching out far in the 
distance until it became lost in a point was the glassy canal 
with its many skaters, its brown- winged ice-boats, its push- 
chairs and its queer little sleds, light as cork, flying over the 
ice by means of iron-pronged sticks in the hands of the riders. 
Ben was in ecstasy with the scene. 

Ludwig van Holp had been thinking how strange it was 
that the English boy should know so much of Holland. Ac- 
cording to Lambert's account he knew more about it than 
the Dutch did. This did not quite please our young Hollander. 
Suddenly he thought of something that he believed would 
make the "Shon Pull" open his eyes; he drew near Lambert 
with a triumphant: 

"Tell him about the tulips!" 

Ben caught the word 'tulpen.' 

"Oh! yes," said he eagerly, in English, "the Tulip Mania 
are you speaking of that? I have often heard it mentioned, 
but know very little about it. It reached its height in Amster- 
dam, didn't it?" 

Ludwig moaned; the words were hard to understand, but 
there was no mistaking the enlightened expression on Ben's 
face; Lambert, happily, was quite unconscious of his young 
countryman's distress as he replied: 

'Yes, here and in Haarlem, principally; but the excite- 
ment ran high all over Holland, and in England too for that 
matter." 

[89] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

* Hardly in England,* I think," said Ben, "but I am not 
sure, as I was not there at the time." 

''Ha! ha! that's true, unless you are over two hundred 
years old. Well, I tell you, sir, there was never anything like 
it before nor since. Why, persons were so crazy after tulip 
bulbs in those days that they paid their weight in gold for 
them." 

'What, the weight of a man?" cried Ben, showing such 
astonishment in his eyes that Ludwig fairly capered. 

:< No, no, the weight of a bulb. The first tulip was sent 
here from Constantinople about the year 1560. It was so 
much admired that the rich people of Amsterdam sent to 

* Although the Tulip Mania did not prevail in England as in Holland, 
the flower soon became an object of speculation and brought very large 
prices. In 1636 Tulips were publicly sold on the Exchange of London. 
Even as late as 1800, a common price was fifteen guineas for one bulb. 
Ben did not know that in his own day a single Tulip plant, called the 
'Fanny Kemble,' had been sold in London for more than 70 guineas. 

Mr. Mackay, in his 'Memoirs of Popular Delusions,' tells a funny 
story of an English botanist w r ho happened to see a tulip bulb lying in 
the conservatory of a wealthy Dutchman. Ignorant of its value, he took 
out his penknife and, cutting the bulb in two, became very much inter- 
ested in his investigations. Suddenly the owner appeared, and pouncing 
furiously upon him, asked him if he knew what he was doing. "Peeling 
a most extraordinary onion," replied the philosopher. "Hundert tousant 
tuyvel!" shouted the Dutchman, "it's an ADMIRAL VANDEB EYK!" "Thank 
you," replied the traveler, immediately writing the name in his note book, 
"pray are these very common in your country?" "Death and the tuyvel! " 
screamed the Dutchman, "come before the Syndic and you shall see!" 
In spite of his struggles the poor investigator, followed by an indignant 
mob, was taken through the streets to a magistrate. Soon he learned to 
his dismay that he had destroyed a bulb worth 4,000 florins ($1,600). He 
was lodged in prison until securities could be procured for the payment of 
the sum. 

[90] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

Turkey for more. From that time they grew to be the rage, 
and it lasted for years. Single roots brought from one to four 
thousand florins; and one bulb, the Semper Augustus, brought 
fifty -five hundred." 

"That's more than four hundred guineas of our money," 
interposed Ben. 

"Yes, and I know I'm right, for I read it in a translation 
from Beckman, only day before yesterday. Well, sir, it was 
great. Everyone speculated in Tulips, even the barge-men 
and rag- women and chimney-sweeps. The richest merchants 
were not ashamed to share the excitement. People bought 
bulbs and sold them again at a tremendous profit without ever 
seeing them. It grew into a kind of gambling. Some became 
rich by it in a few days, and some lost everything they had. 
Land, houses, cattle and even clothing went for Tulips when 
people had no ready money. Ladies sold then* jewels and 
finery to enable them to join in the fun. Nothing else was 
thought of. At last the States-general interfered. People be- 
gan to see what geese they were making of themselves, and 
down went the price of Tulips. Old tulip debts couldn't be 
collected. Creditors went to law, and the law turned its back 
upon them; debts made in gambling were not binding, it said. 
Then there was a time! Thousands of rich speculators re- 
duced to beggary in an hour. As old Beckman says, : 'the 
bubble was burst at last." 

'Yes, and a big bubble it was," said Ben, who had 
listened with great interest. "By-the-way, did you know 
that the name Tulip came from a Turkish word, signifying 
turban?" 

[91] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

"I had forgotten that," answered Lambert, ;< but it's a 
capital idea. Just fancy a party of Turks in full head-gear, 
squatted upon a lawn perfect tulip bed! Ha! ha! capital 
idea!" 

["There," groaned Ludwig to himself, : 'he's been tell- 
ing Lambert something wonderful about Tulips I knew 
it!"] 

"The fact is," continued Lambert, "you can conjure up 
quite a human picture out of a tulip bed in bloom, especially 
when it is nodding and bobbing in the wind. Did you ever 
notice it?" 

'Not I. It strikes me, van Mounen, that you Hollanders 
are prodigiously fond of the flower to this day." 

" Certainly. You can't have a garden without them, pret- 
tiest flower that grows, / think. My uncle has a magnificent 
bed of the finest varieties at his summer-house on the other 
side of Amsterdam." 

"I thought your uncle lived in the city?" 

"So he does; but his summer-house, or pavilion, is a few 
miles off. He has another one built out over the river. We 
passed near it when we entered the city. Everybody in Am- 
sterdam has a pavilion somewhere, if he can." 

'Do they ever live there?" asked Ben. 

'Bless you, no! They are small affairs, suitable only to 
spend a few hours in on Summer afternoons. There are some 
beautiful ones on the southern end of the Haarlem Lake 
now that they've commenced to drain it into polders, it will 
spoil that fun. By-the-way, we've passed some red-roofed ones 

since we left home. You noticed them, I suppose, with their 

[92] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

little bridges, and ponds and gardens, and their mottoes over 
the doorway." 

Ben nodded. 

"They make but little show, now," continued Lambert, 
"but in warm weather they are delightful. After the willows 
sprout, uncle goes to his summer-house every afternoon. He 
dozes and smokes; aunt knits, with her feet perched upon a 
foot-stove, never mind how hot the day; my cousin Rika and 
the other girls fish in the lake from the windows, or chat with 
their friends rowing by; and the youngsters tumble about, or 
hang upon the little bridges over the ditch. Then they have 
coffee and cakes; besides a great bunch of water-lilies on the 
table it's very fine, I can tell you; only (between ourselves), 
though I was born here, I shall never fancy the odor of stag- 
nant water that hangs about most of the summer-houses. 
Nearly every one you see is built over a ditch. Probably I 
feel it more, from having lived so long in England." 

"Perhaps I shall notice it, too," said Ben, "if a thaw comes. 
This early winter has covered up the fragrant waters for my 
benefit much obliged to it. Holland without this glorious 
skating wouldn't be the same thing to me at all." 

"How very different you are from the Poots!" exclaimed 
Lambert, who had been listening in a sort of brown study, 
"and yet you are cousins I cannot understand it." 

' We are cousins, or rather we have always considered our- 
selves such, but the relationship is not very close. Our Grand- 
mothers were half-sisters. My side of the family is entirely 
English, while his is entirely Dutch. Old Great-grandfather 

Poot married twice, you see, and I am a descendant of his 

[93] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

English wife. I like Jacob, though, better than half of my 
English cousins put together. He is the truest-hearted, best- 
natured boy I ever knew. Strange as you may think it, my 
father became accidentally acquainted with Jacob's father 
while on a business visit to Rotterdam. They soon talked over 
their relationship in French, by-the-way and they have cor- 
responded in that language ever since. Queer things come 
about in this world. My sister Jenny would open her eyes at 
some of Aunt Foot's ways. Aunt is a thorough lady, but so 
different from mother and the house, too, and furniture, and 
way of living, everything is different." 

"Of course," assented Lambert, complacently, as if to say, 
'you could scarcely expect such general perfection anywhere 
else than in Holland,' : 'but you will have all the more to tell 
Jenny when you go back." 

'Yes, indeed. I can say one thing if cleanliness is, as 
they claim, next to godliness, Broek is safe. It is the cleanest 
place I ever saw in my life. Why, my Aunt Foot, rich as she 
is, scrubs half the time, and her house looks as if it were var- 
nished all over. I wrote to mother yesterday that I could see 
my double always with me, feet to feet, in the polished floor 
of the dining-room." 

'Your double! that word puzzles me; what do you mean?' 1 

"Oh, my reflection, my apparition. Ben Dobbs number 
two." 

"Ah, I see," exclaimed van Mounen. "Have you ever 
been in your Aunt Foot's grand parlor?" 

Ben laughed. "Only once, and that was on the day of my 
arrival. Jacob says I shall have no chance of entering it again 

[94] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

until the time of his sister Kenau's wedding, the week after 
Christmas. Father has consented that I shall remain to wit- 
ness the great event. Every Saturday Aunt Foot and her 
fat Kate go into that parlor and sweep, and polish, and scrub; 
then it is darkened and closed until Saturday comes again; 
not a soul enters it in the meantime; but the schoonmaken, as 
she calls it, must be done, just the same." 

'That is nothing. Every parlor in Broek meets with the 
same treatment," said Lambert. 'What do you think of 
these moving figures in her neighbor's garden?" 

"Oh, they're well enough; the swans must seem really alive 
gliding about the pond in summer; but that nodding Mandarin 
in the corner, under the chestnut trees, is ridiculous, only fit 
for children to laugh at. And then the stiff garden patches, 
and the trees all trimmed and painted. Excuse me, van 
Mounen, but I shall never learn to admire Dutch taste." 

"It will take time," answered Lambert, condescendingly, 
" but you are sure to agree with it at last. I saw much to ad- 
mire in England, and I hope I shall be sent back with you, to 
study at Oxford ; but take everything together, I like Holland 
best." 

Of course you do," said Ben, in a tone of hearty approval, 
you wouldn't be a good Hollander if you didn't. Nothing 
like loving one's country. It is strange, though, to have such 
a warm feeling for such a cold place. If we were not exercising 
all the time we should freeze outright." 

Lambert laughed. 
'That's your English blood, Benjamin, Tm not cold. And 

look at the skaters here on the canal they're red as roses, 

[95] 



tt 

(( 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

and happy as lords. Hallo! good Captain van Holp," called 
out Lambert in Dutch, "what say you to stopping at yonder 
farm-house and warming our toes?" 

"Who is cold?" asked Peter, turning around. 

"Benjamin Dobbs." 

"Benjamin Dobbs shall be warmed," and the party was 
brought to a halt. 



[96] 



xn 

ON THE WAY TO HAARLEM 

ON approaching the door of the farm-house the boys 
suddenly found themselves in the midst of a lively 
domestic scene. A burly Dutchman came rushing 
out, closely followed by his dear vrouw, and she was beating 
him smartly with a long-handled warming-pan. The expres- 
sion on her face gave our boys so little promise of a kind re- 
ception that they prudently resolved to carry their toes else- 
where to be warmed. 

The next cottage proved to be more inviting. Its low roof 
of bright red tiles, extended over the cow-stable, that, clean 
as could be, nestled close to the main building. A neat, peace- 
ful-looking old woman sat at one window, knitting. At the 
other could be discerned part of the profile of a fat figure that, 
pipe in mouth, sat behind the shining little panes and snowy 
curtain. In answer to Peter's subdued knock, a fair-haired, 
rosy-cheeked lass in holiday attire opened the upper half of 
the green door (which was divided across the middle) and in- 
quired their errand. 

"May we enter and warm ourselves, jufvrouw?" asked the 
captain respectfully. 

"Yes, and welcome," was the reply, as the lower half of 
the door swung softly toward its mate. Every boy before 
entering rubbed long and faithfully upon the rough mat, and 
each made his best bow to the old lady and gentleman at the 

windows. Ben was half inclined to think that these person- 

[97] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

ages were automata, like the moving figures in the garden at 
Broek; for they both nodded their heads slowly, in precisely 
the same way, and both went on with their employment as 
steadily and stiffly as though they worked by machinery. 
The old man puffed! puffed! and his vrouw clicked her knit- 
ting-needles, as if regulated by internal cog-wheels. Even the 
real smoke issuing from the motionless pipe gave no convinc- 
ing proof that they were human. 

But the rosy -cheeked maiden! Ah! how she bustled about. 
How she gave the boys polished high-backed chairs to sit 
upon, how she made the fire blaze up as if it were inspired, 
how she made Jacob Foot almost weep for joy by bringing 
forth a great square of gingerbread and a stone jug of sour 
wine! How she laughed and nodded as the boys ate like wild 
animals on good behavior, and how blank she looked when Ben 
politely but firmly refused to take any black bread and sour- 
krout! How she pulled off Jacob's mitten, which was torn at 
the thumb, and mended it before his eyes, biting off the thread 
with her white teeth, and saying, ''now it will be warmer," 
as she bit; and finally, how she shook hands with every boy 
in turn and (throwing a deprecating glance at the female 
automaton) insisted upon filling their pockets with ginger- 
bread ! 

All this time the knitting-needles clicked on, and the pipe 
never missed a puff. 

When the boys were fairly on their way again, they came 
in sight of Zwanenburg Castle, with its massive stone front 
and its gateway towers, each surmounted with a sculptured 
swan. 

[98] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

"Halfweg,* boys," said Peter, "off with your skates." 

"You see," explained Lambert to his companion, "the Y 
and the Haarlem Lake meeting here make it rather trouble- 
some. The river is five feet higher than the land so we must 
have everything strong in the way of dykes and sluice-gates, 
or there would be wet work at once. The sluice arrangements 
here are supposed to be something extra we will walk over 
them and you shall see enough to make you open your eyes. 
The spring water of the lake, they say, has the most wonderful 
bleaching powers of any in the world; all the great Haarlem 
bleacheries use it. I can't say much upon that subject but 
I can tell you one thing from personal experience." 

"What is that?" 

"Why, the lake is full of the biggest eels you ever saw 
I've caught them here, often perfectly prodigious! I tell 
you they're sometimes a match for a fellow; they'd almost 
wriggle your arm from the socket if you were not on your 
guard. But you're not interested in eels, I perceive. The 
castle's a big affair, isn't it?" 

"Yes. What do those swans mean? Anything?" asked 
Ben, looking up at the stone gate-towers. 

"The swan is held almost in reverence by us Hollanders. 
These give the building its name, Zwanenburg swan-castle. 
That is all I know. This is a very important spot; for it is 
here that the wise ones hold council with regard to dyke 
matters. The castle was once the residence of the celebrated 
Christiaan Brunings." 

"What about him?" asked Ben. 

* Half way. 
[ 99 ] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

"Peter could answer you better than I," said Lambert, 
"if you could only understand each other, or were not such 
cowards about leaving your mother-tongues. But I have often 
heard my grandfather speak of Brunings. He is never tired 
of telling us of the great engineer how good he was, and how 
learned, and how when he died the whole country seemed to 
mourn as for a friend. He belonged to a great many learned 
societies, and was at the head of the State department in- 
trusted with the care of the dykes, and other defences against 
the sea. There's no counting the improvements he made in 
dykes and sluices and water-mills, and all that kind of thing. 
We Hollanders, you know, consider our great engineers as the 
highest of public benefactors. Brunings died years ago; 
they've a monument to his memory in the cathedral of Haar- 
lem. I have seen his portrait, and I tell you, Ben, he was right 
noble-looking. No wonder the castle looks so stiff and proud. 
It is something to have given shelter to such a man!" 

"Yes, indeed," said Ben, "I wonder, van Mounen, whether 
you or I will ever give any old building a right to feel proud- 
Heigho! there's a great deal to be done yet in this world and 
some of us who are boys now will have to do it. Look to 
your shoe latchet, Van, it's unfastened." 



[100] 



XIII 
A CATASTROPHE 

IT was nearly one o'clock when Captain van Holp and his 
command entered the grand old city of Haarlem. They 
has skated nearly seventeen miles since morning, and were 
still as fresh as young eagles. From the youngest (Ludwig 
van Holp, who was just fourteen) to the eldest, no less a per- 
sonage than the captain himself, a veteran of seventeen, there 
was but one opinion that this was the greatest frolic of their 
lives. To be sure, Jacob Foot had become rather short of 
breath during the last mile or two, and perhaps he felt ready 
for another nap; but there was enough jollity in him yet for 
a dozen. Even Carl Schummel, who had become very inti- 
mate with Ludwig during the excursion, forgot to be ill- 
natured. As for Peter, he was the happiest of the happy, 
and had sung and whistled so joyously while skating that the 
staidest passers-by had smiled as they listened. 

"Come, boys! it's nearly tiffin*-hour," he said, as they 
neared a coffee-house on the main street. "We must have some- 
thing more solid than the pretty maiden's gingerbread ' 

and the captain plunged his hands into his pockets as if to say 
"there's money enough here to feed an army!" 
"Hello!" cried Lambert, "what ails the man?" 
Peter, pale and staring, was clapping his hands upon his 
breast and sides he looked like one suddenly becoming 
deranged. 

* Lunch. 
[101] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

"He's sick!" cried Ben. 
'No, he's lost something," said Carl. 

Peter could only gasp- ; 'the pocket-book! with all our 
money in it it's gone!" 

For an instant all were too much startled to speak. 

Carl at last came out with a gruff- 

" No sense in letting one fellow have all the money. I said 
so from the first. Look in your other pocket." 

"I did it isn't there." 

"Open your under jacket- 
Peter obeyed mechanically. He even took off his hat and 
looked into it then thrust his hand desperately into every 
pocket. 

'It's gone, boys," he said at last, in a hopeless tone. : 'No 
tiffin for us, nor dinner neither. What is to be done? We can't 
get on without money. If we were in Amsterdam I could get 
as much as we want, but there is not a man in Haarlem from 
whom I can borrow a stiver. Don't one of you know any one 
here who would lend us a few guilders?" 

Each boy looked into five blank faces. Then something 
like a smile passed around the circle, but it got sadly knotted 
up when it reached Carl. 

'That wouldn't do," he said crossly, "I know some people 
here, rich ones, too, but father would flog me soundly if I 
borrowed a cent from any one. He has 'AN HONEST MAN 
NEED NOT BORROW,' written over the gateway of his summer- 
house." 

'Humph!" responded Peter, not particularly admiring the 

sentiment just at that moment. 

[102] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

The boys grew desperately hungry at once. 

"It wash my fault," said Jacob, in a penitent tone, to Ben. 
"I say first, petter all de boys put zair pursh into van Help's 
monish." 

"Nonsense, Jacob; you did it all for the best." 

Ben said this in such a sprightly tone that the two van 
Holps and Carl felt sure he had proposed a plan that would 
relieve the party at once. 

'What? what? Tell us, van Mounen," they cried. 

"He says it is not Jacob's fault that the money is lost 
that he did it for the best, when he proposed that van Holp 
should put all of our money into his purse." 

"Is that all?" said Ludwig dismally, "he need not have 
made such a fuss in just saying that. How much money have 
we lost?" 

"Don't you remember?" said Peter. "We each put in 
exactly ten guilders. The purse had sixty guilders in it. I 
am the stupidest fellow in the world ; little Schimmelpenninck 
would have made you a better captain. I could pommel my- 
self for bringing such a disappointment upon you." 

"Do it, then," growled Carl. "Pooh," he added, "we all 
know it was an accident, but that doesn't help matters. We 
must have money, van Holp even if you have to sell your 
wonderful watch." 

"Sell my mother's birthday present! Never! I will sell 
my coat, my hat, anything but my watch." 

"Come, come," said Jacob pleasantly, "we are making too 
much of this affair. We can go home and start again in a day 
or two." 

[103] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

' You may be able to get another ten-guilder piece," said 
Carl, "but the rest of us will not find it so easy. If we go 
home, we stay home, you may depend." 

Our captain, whose good-nature had not yet forsaken him 
for a moment, grew indignant. 

"Do you think I will let you suffer for my carelessness," 
he exclaimed, "I have three times sixty guilders in my strong 
box at home!" 

"Oh, I beg your pardon," said Carl, hastily, adding in 
a surlier tone, "well, I see no better way than to go back 
hungry." 

'I see a better plan than that," said the Captain. 

'What is it?" cried all the boys. 

"Why, to make the best of a bad business and go back 
pleasantly, and like men," said Peter, looking so gallant and 
handsome as he turned his frank face and clear blue eyes upon 
them that they caught his spirit. 

"Ho! for the Captain," they shouted. 

"Now, boys, we may as well make up our minds there's 
no place like Broek, after all and that we mean to be there 
in two hours is that agreed to?'' 

"Agreed!" cried all, as they ran to the canal. 

"On with your skates! Are you ready? Here, Jacob, let 
me help you." 

'Now. One, two, three, start!" 

And the boyish faces that left Haarlem at that signal, 
were nearly as bright as those that had entered it with Cap- 
tain Peter half an hour before. 

[104] 



XIV 
HANS 

<4 " "BONDER and Blixin!" cried Carl angrily, before the 

1 party had skated twenty yards from the city gates, 

if here isn't that wooden-skate ragamuffin in the 

patched leather breeches. That fellow is everywhere, confound 

him! We'll be lucky," he added, in as sneering a tone as he 

dared to assume, "if our captain doesn't order us to halt and 

shake hands with him." 

'Your captain is a terrible fellow," said Peter, pleasantly, 
"but this is a false alarm, Carl I cannot spy your bugbear 
anywhere among the skaters ah! there he is! why what is 
the matter with the lad?" 

Poor Hans! His face was pale, his lips compressed. He 
skated like one under the effects of a fearful dream. Just as 
he was passing, Peter hailed him: 

"Good-day, Hans Brinker!" 

Hans' countenance brightened at once. "Ah! mynheer, 
is that you? It is well we meet!" 

"Just like his impertinence," hissed Carl Schummel, dart- 
ing scornfully past his companions, who seemed inclined to 
linger with their captain. 

"I am glad to see you, Hans," responded Peter, cheerily, 
''but you look troubled. Can I serve you?" 

"I have a trouble, mynheer," answered Hans, casting down 
his eyes. Then lifting them again with almost a happy expres- 

[105] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

sion, he added, "but it is Hans who can help Mynheer van 
IIolp this time." 

'How?" asked Peter, making, in his blunt Dutch way, no 
attempt to conceal his surprise. 

'By giving you this, mynheer- ' and Hans held forth 
the missing purse. 

''Hurrah!" shouted the boys taking their cold hands from 
their pockets to wave them joyfully in the air. But Peter 
said, "thank you, Hans Brinker," in a tone that made Hans 
feel as if the king had knelt to him. 

The shout of the delighted boys reached the muffled ears 
of the fine young gentleman who, under a full pressure of pent- 
up wrath, was skating toward Amsterdam. A Yankee boy 
would have wheeled about at once and hastened to satisfy 
his curiosity. But Carl only halted, and with his back toward 
his party wondered what on earth had happened. There he 
stood, immovable, until, feeling sure that nothing but the 
prospect of something to eat could have made them hurrah 
so heartily, he turned and skated slowly toward his excited 
comrades. 

Meantime Peter had drawn Hans aside from the rest. 

"How did you know it was my purse?" he asked. 

' You paid me three guilders yesterday, mynheer, for mak- 
ing the white-wood chain, telling me that I must buy skates." 

'Yes, I remember." 

"I saw your purse then; it was of yellow leather." 

"And where did you find it to-day?" 

"I left my home this morning, mynheer, in great trouble, 

and as I skated, I took no heed until I stumbled against some 

[106] 




But it is Hans who can help Mynheer van Holp this time." 



THE SILVER SKATES 

lumber, and while I was rubbing my knee I saw your purse 
nearly hidden under a log." 

"That place! Ah, I remember, now; just as we were 
passing it I pulled my tippet from my pocket, and probably 
flirted out the purse at the same time. It would have been 
gone but for you, Hans. Here" pouring out the contents 
"you must give us the pleasure of dividing the money with 

you " 

"No, mynheer," answered Hans. He spoke quietly, with- 
out pretence, or any grace of manner, but Peter, somehow, 
felt rebuked, and put the silver back without a word. 

"I like that boy, rich or poor," he thought to himself, 
then added aloud, "May I ask about this trouble of yours, 
Hans?" 

"Ah, mynheer, it is a sad case but I have waited here too 
long. I am going to Leyden to see the great Doctor Boek- 
man 

"Doctor Boekman!" exclaimed Peter in astonishment. 

"Yes, mynheer, and I have not a moment to lose. Good- 
day!" 

"Stay, I am going that way. Come, my lads! Shall we 
return to Haarlem?" 

"Yes," cried the boys, eagerly and off they started. 

"Now," said Peter, drawing near Hans, both skimming 
the ice so easily and lightly as they skated on together that 
they seemed scarce conscious of moving, "we are going to stop 
at Leyden, and if you are going there only with a message 
to Doctor Boekman, cannot I do the errand for you? The 

boys may be too tired to skate so far to-day, but I will 

[107] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

promise to see him early to-morrow if he is to be found in 
the city." 

"Ah, mynheer, that would be serving me indeed; it is not 
the distance I dread, but leaving my mother so long?' 

"Is she ill?" 

"No, mynheer. It is the father. You may have heard it; 
how he has been without wit for many a year ever since the 
great Schlossen mill was built; but his body has been well and 
strong. Last night the mother knelt upon the hearth to blow 
the peat (it is his only delight to sit and watch the live embers ; 
and she will blow them into a blaze every hour of the day to 
please him). Before she could stir, he sprang upon her like 
a giant and held her close to the fire, all the time laughing and 
shaking his head. I was on the canal ; but I heard the mother 
scream and ran to her. The father had never loosened his 
hold, and her gown was smoking. I tried to deaden the fire, 
but with one hand he pushed me off. There was no water 
in the cottage or I could have done better and all that 
time he laughed such a terrible laugh, mynheer; hardly a 
sound, but all in his face I tried to pull her away, but that 
only made it worse then it was dreadful, but could I see 
the mother burn? I beat him beat him with a stool. He 
tossed me away. The gown was on fire! I would put it out. 
I can't remember well after that; I found myself upon the 
floor and the mother was praying It seemed to me that she 
was in a blaze, and all the while I could hear that laugh. My 
sister Gretel screamed out that he was holding the mother 
close to the very coals, I could not tell! Gretel flew to the 

closet and filled a porringer with the food he liked, and put 

[108] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

it upon the floor. Then, mynheer, he left the mother and 
crawled to it like a little child. She was not burnt, only part 
of her clothing ah, how kind she was to him all night watching 
and tending him He slept in a high fever, with his hands 
pressed to his head. The mother says he has done that so 
much of late, as though he felt pain there Ah, mynheer, I 
did not mean to tell you. If the father was himself, he would 
not harm even a kitten 

For a moment the two boys moved on in silence 

"It is terrible," said Peter at last "How is he to-day?" 

'Very sick, mynheer " 

'Why go for Dr. Boekman, Hans? There are others in 
Amsterdam who could help him, perhaps; Boekman is a 
famous man, sought only by the wealthiest and they often 
wait upon him in vain?" 

" He promised, mynheer; he promised me yesterday to come 
to the father in a week but now that the change has come, 
we cannot wait we think the poor father is dying Oh! 
mynheer, you can plead with him to come quick he will not 
wait a whole week and our father dying the good meester is 
so kind " 

"So kind!' echoed Peter, in astonishment, "Why he is 
known as the Grossest man in Holland!" 

: 'He looks so because he has no fat, and his head is busy 
but his heart is kind, I know- -Tell the meester what I have told 
you, mynheer, and he will come." 

"I hope so, Hans, with all my heart. You are in haste 
to turn homeward I see. Promise me that should you need a 

friend, you will go to my mother, at Broek. Tell her I bade 

[109] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

you see her; and, Hans Brinker not as a reward but as a 
gift take a few of these guilders." 

Hans shook his head resolutely. 

'No, no, mynheer I cannot take it. If I could find work 
in Broek or at the South Mill I would be glad, but it is the 
same story everywhere 'wait till Spring.' 1 

'It is well you speak of it," said Peter eagerly, "for my 
father needs help at once Your pretty chain pleased him 
much he said, ' that boy has a clean cut, he would be good at 
carving'- -There is to be a carved portal to our new summer- 
house, and father will pay well for the job." 

"God is good!" cried Hans in sudden delight "Oh! myn- 
heer, that would be too much joy I have never tried big work 
but I can do it I know I can." 

'Well, tell my father you are the Hans Brinker of whom I 
spoke. He will be glad to serve you." 

Hans stared in honest surprise. 

'Thank you, mynheer." 

'Now, Captain," shouted Carl, anxious to appear as good- 
humored as possible, by way of atonement, "Here we are in 
the midst of Haarlem, and no word from you yet we await 
your orders, and we're as hungry as wolves." 

Peter made a cheerful answer, and turned hurriedly to 
Hans. 

"Come get something to eat, and I will detain you no 
longer." 

What a quick, wistful look Hans threw upon him! Peter 
wondered that he had not noticed before that the poor boy 
was hungry. 

[110] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

"Ah, mynheer, even now the mother may need me, the 
father may be worse I must not wait May God care for 
you" and, nodding hastily, Hans turned his face homeward 
and was gone. 

"Come, boys," sighed Peter, "now for our tiffin!" 



[mi 



XV 

HOMES 

IT must not be supposed that our young Dutchmen had 
already forgotten the great skating-race which was to 
take place on the twentieth. On the contrary, they had 
thought and spoken of it very often during the day. Even 
Ben, though he had felt more like a traveler than the rest, 
had never once, through all the sight-seeing, lost a certain 
vision of silver skates which, for a week past, had haunted him 
night and day. 

Like a true "John Bull," as Jacob had called him, he never 
doubted that his English fleetness, English strength, English 
everything, could at any time enable him, on the ice, to put 
all Holland to shame, and the rest of the world, too, for that 
matter. Ben certainly was a superb skater. He had enjoyed 
not half the opportunities for practising that had fallen to his 
new comrades; but he had improved his share to the utmost; 
and was, besides, so strong of frame, so supple of limb in 
short, such a tight, trim, quick, graceful fellow in every way, 
that he had taken to skating as naturally as a chamois to leap- 
ing, or an eagle to soaring. 

Only to the heavy heart of poor Hans had the vision of the 
Silver Skates failed to appear during that starry winter night 
and the brighter sunlit day. 

Even Gretel had seen them flitting before her as she sat 
beside her mother through those hours of weary watching 
not as prizes to be won, but as treasures passing hopelessly 
beyond her reach. 

[ 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

Rychie, Hilda and Katrinka why they had scarcely 
known any other thought than "the race! the race! It 
will come off on the twentieth!" 

These three girls were friends. Though of nearly the same 
age, talent and station, they were as different as girls could be. 

Hilda van Gleck you already know, a warm-hearted, noble 
girl of fourteen. Rychie Korbes was beautiful to look upon, 
far more sparkling and pretty than Hilda, but not half so 
bright and sunny within. Clouds of pride, of discontent and 
envy had already gathered in her heart, and were growing 
bigger and darker every day. Of course these often relieved 
themselves very much after the manner of other clouds 
But who saw the storms and the weeping? Only her maid, 
or her father, mother and little brother those who loved her 
better than all. Like other clouds, too, hers often took queer 
shapes, and what was really but mist and vapory fancy as- 
sumed the appearance of monster wrongs and mountains of 
difficulty. To her mind, the poor peasant-girl Gretel was not 
a human being, a God-created creature like herself she was 
only something that meant poverty, rags and dirt. Such as 
Gretel had no right to feel, to hope; above all, they should 
never cross the paths of their betters that is, not in a dis- 
agreeable way. They could toil and labor for them at a re- 
spectful distance, even admire them, if they would do it hum- 
bly, but nothing more. If they rebel, put them down If 
they suffer, don't trouble me about it, was Rychie's secret 
motto. And yet how witty she was, how tastefully she dressed, 
how charmingly she sang, how much feeling she displayed 

(for pet kittens and rabbits), and how completely she could 

[113] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

bewitch sensible, honest-minded lads like Lambert van Mounen 
and Ludwig van Holp! 

Carl was too much like her, within, to be an earnest ad- 
mirer, and perhaps he suspected the clouds. He, being deep 
and surly, and always uncomfortably in earnest, of course pre- 
ferred the lively Katrinka, whose nature was made of a hun- 



dred tinkling bells. She was a coquette in her infancy, a 
coquette in her childhood, and now a coquette in her school- 
days. Without a thought of harm, she coquetted with her 
studies, her duties, even her little troubles. They shouldn't 
know when they bothered her, not they. She coquetted with 
her mother, her pet lamb, her baby brother, even with her 
own golden curls tossing them back as if she despised them. 
Everyone liked her, but who could love her? She was never 
in earnest. A pleasant face, a pleasant heart, a pleasant man- 
ner these only satisfy for an hour. Poor, happy Katrinka! 
such as she tinkle, tinkle so merrily through their early days; 
but Life is so apt to coquette with them in turn, to put all their 
sweet bells out of tune, or to silence them one by one! 

How different were the homes of these three girls from the 
tumbling old cottage where Gretel dwelt! Rychie lived in a 
beautiful house near Amsterdam, where the carved sideboards 
were laden with services of silver and gold, and where silken 
tapestries hung in folds from ceiling to floor. 

Hilda's father owned the largest mansion in Broek. Its 
glittering roof of polished tiles, and its boarded front, painted 
in half a dozen various colors, were the admiration of the 
neighborhood. 

Katrinka's home, not a mile distant, was the finest of 

[114] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

Dutch country-seats. The garden was so stiffly laid out in 
little paths and patches that the birds might have mistaken 
it for a great Chinese puzzle with all the pieces spread out 
ready for use. But in summer it was beautiful; the flowers 
made the best of their stiff quarters, and, when the gardener 
was not watching, glowed and bent and twined about each 
other in the prettiest way imaginable. Such a tulip bed! 
Why, the Queen of the Fairies would never care for a grander 
city in which to hold her court! but Katrinka preferred the 
bed of pink and white hyacinths. She loved their freshness 
and fragrance, and the light-hearted way in which their bell- 
shaped blossoms swung in the breeze. 

Carl was both right and wrong when he said that Katrinka 
and Rychie were furious at the very idea of the peasant Gretel 
joining in the race. He had heard Rychie declare it was "Dis- 
graceful, shameful, TOO BAD!' which in Dutch, as in English, 
is generally the strongest expression an indignant girl can use; 
and he had seen Katrinka nod her pretty head, and heard her 
sweetly echo, "Shameful, too bad!" as nearly like Rychie as 
tinkling bells can be like the voice of real anger. This had 
satisfied him. He never suspected that had Hilda, not Rychie, 
first talked with Katrinka upon the subject, the bells would 
have jingled as willing an echo. She would have said "cer- 
tainly, let her join us," and would have skipped off thinking 
no more about it. But now Katrinka with sweet emphasis 
pronounced it a shame that a goose-girl, a forlorn little crea- 
ture like Gretel, should be allowed to spoil the race. 

Rychie being rich and powerful (in a school-girl way) had 
other followers, besides Katrinka, who were induced to share 

[115] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

her opinions because they were either too careless or too 
cowardly to think for themselves. 

Poor little Gretel! Her home was sad and dark enough 
now. Raff Drinker lay moaning upon his rough bed, and his 
vrouw, forgetting and forgiving everything, bathed his fore- 
head, his lips, weeping and praying that he might not die. 
Hans, as we know, had started in desperation for Leyden to 
search for Dr. Boekman, and induce him, if possible, to come 
to their father at once. Gretel, filled with a strange dread, 
had done the work as well as she could, wiped the rough brick 
floor, brought peat to build up the slow fire, and melted ice 
for her mother's use. This accomplished, she seated herself 
upon a low stool near the bed, and begged her mother to try 
and sleep awhile. 

"You are so tired," she whispered, "not once have you 
closed your eyes since that dreadful hour last night. See, I 
have straightened the willow bed in the corner, and spread 
everything soft upon it I could find, so that the mother might 
lie in comfort. Here is your jacket. Take off that pretty 
dress, I'll fold it away very careful, and put it in the big chest 
before you go to sleep." 

Dame Brinker shook her head without turning her eyes 
from her husband's face. 

'I can watch, mother," urged Gretel, "and I'll wake you 
every time the father stirs. You are so pale, and your eyes are 
so red oh, mother, do! 9 ' 

The child pleaded in vain. Dame Brinker would not 
leave her post. 

Gretel looked at her in troubled silence, wondering whether 

[116] 




i D.MSK 



The child pleaded in vain. Dame Brinker would not leave her post. 



THE SILVER SKATES 

it were very wicked to care more for one parent than for the 
other and sure, yes, quite sure, that she dreaded her father, 
while she clung to her mother with a love that was almost 
idolatry. 

"Hans loves the father so well," she thought, "why cannot 
I? Yet I could not help crying when I saw his hand bleed 
that day, last month, when he snatched the knife and now, 
when he moans, how I ache, ache all over. Perhaps I love him, 
after all, and God will see I am not such a bad, wicked girl 
as I thought. Yes, I love the poor father almost as Hans does 
not quite, for Hans is stronger and does not fear him. Oh, 
will that moaning go on forever and ever! Poor mother, how 
patient she is; sJw never pouts, as I do, about the money that 
went away so strange. If he only could, just for one instant, 
open his eyes and look at us, as Hans does, and tell us where 
mother's guilders went, I would not care for the rest yes, I 
would care I don't want the poor father to die, to be all blue 
and cold like Annie Bouinan's little sister I know I don't 
dear God, I don't want father to die." 

Her thoughts merged into a prayer. When it ended, the 
poor child scarcely knew. Soon she found herself watching a 
little pulse of light at the side of the fire, beating faintly but 
steadily, showing that somewhere in the dark pile there was 
warmth and light that would overspread it at last. A large 
earthen cup filled with burning peat stood near the bedside; 
Gretel had placed it there to "stop the father's shivering" she 
said. She watched it as it sent a glow around the mother's 
form, tipping her faded skirt with light, and shedding a sort 

of newness over the threadbare bodice. It was a relief to 

[117] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

Gretel to see the lines in that weary face soften as the fire- 
light flickered gently across it. 

Next she counted the window-panes, broken and patched 
as they were; and finally, after tracing every crack and seam 
in the walls, fixed her gaze upon a carved shelf made by Hans. 
The shelf hung as high as Gretel could reach. It held a large 
leather-covered Bible, with brass clasps, a wedding present to 
Dame Brinker from the family at Heidelberg. 

"Ah, how handy Hans is! If he were here he could turn 
the father some way so the moans would stop dear! dear! if 
this sickness lasts, we shall never skate any more. I must 
send my new skates back to the beautiful lady. Hans and I 
will not see the race," and Gretel's eyes, that had been dry 
before, grew full of tears. 

'Never cry, child," said her mother soothingly. 'This 
sickness may not be as bad as we think. The father has lain 
this way before." 

Gretel sobbed now. 

"Oh, mother, it is not that alone you do not know all 
I am very, very bad and wicked!" 

' You, Gretel! you so patient and good!" and a bright, 
puzzled look beamed for an instant upon the child. 'Hush, 
lovey, you'll wake him." 

Gretel hid her face in her mother's lap and tried not to 
cry. 

Her little hand, so thin and brown, lay in the coarse palm 
of her mother, creased with many a hard day's work. Rychie 
would have shuddered to touch either, yet they pressed warmly 
upon each other. Soon Gretel looked up with that dull, 

[118] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

homely look which, they say, poor children in shanties are apt 
to have, and said in a trembling voice: 

'The father tried to burn you he did I saw him, and 
he was laughing!' 

"Hush, child!" 

The mother's words came so suddenly and sharply that 
Raff Brinker, dead as he was to all that was passing round him, 
twitched slightly upon the bed. 

Gretel said no more, but plucked drearily at the jagged 
edge of a hole in her mother's holiday gown. It had been 
burned there well for Dame Brinker that the gown was 
woolen. 



1119] 



XVI 
HAARLEM. THE BOYS HEAR VOICES 

REFRESHED and rested, our boys came forth from the 
coffee-house just as the big clock in the Square, after 
the manner of certain Holland time-keepers, was strik- 
ing TWO with its half-hour bell, for half-past TWO. 

The captain was absorbed in thought, at first, for Hans 
Drinker's sad story still echoed in his ears. Not until Ludwig 
rebuked him with a laughing "Wake up, Grandfather!" did 
he reassume his position as gallant boy-leader of his band. 

"Ahem! this way, young gentlemen!" 

They were walking through the streets of the city, not on 
a curbed sidewalk, for such a thing is rarely to be found in 
Holland, but on the brick pavement that lay on the borders 
of the cobble-stone carriage-way without breaking its level 
expanse. 

Haarlem, like Amsterdam, was gayer than usual, in honor 
of St. Nicholas. 

A strange figure was approaching them. It was a small 
man dressed in black, with a short cloak; he wore a wig and 
a cocked hat from which a long crape streamer was flying. 

'Who comes here?" cried Ben, "W T hat a queer-looking 
object." 

'That's the aanspreeker," said Lambert, "some one is 
dead." 

'Is that the way men dress in mourning in this country?" 

"Oh, no. The aanspreeker attends funerals, and it is his 

[120] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

business, when any one dies, to notify all the friends and rela- 
tives." 

'What a strange custom!" 

'Well," said Lambert, "we needn't feel very badly about 
this particular death, for I see another man has lately been 
born to the world to fill up the vacant place." 

Ben stared. "How do you know that?" 

"Don't you see that pretty red pin-cushion hanging on 
yonder door?" asked Lambert in return. 

"Yes." 

"Well, that's a boy." 

"A boy! What do you mean?" 

"I mean that here in Haarlem whenever a boy is born, 
the parents have a red pin-cushion put out at the door. If 
our young friend had been a girl instead of a boy the cushion 
would have been white. In some places they have much more 
fanciful affairs, all trimmed with lace, and even among the 
very poorest houses you will see a bit of ribbon or even a string 
tied on the door latch ' 

''Look!" almost screamed Ben, "there is a white cushion 
at the door of that double-jointed house with the funny roof." 

"I don't see any house with a funny roof." 

"Oh, of course not," said Ben, "I forgot you're a native; 
but all the roofs are queer to me, for that matter. I mean 
the house next to that green building." 

'True enough there's a girl! I tell you what, captain," 
called out Lambert, slipping easily into Dutch, "We must get 
out of this street as soon as possible. It's full of babies! 

They'll set up a squall in a moment." 

[121] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

The captain laughed. 'I shall take you to hear better 
music than that," he said; 'we are just in time to hear the 
organ of St. Bavon. The church is open to-day." 

"What, the great Haarlem organ?" asked Ben. "That will 
be a treat indeed. I have often read of it, with its tremendous 
pipes, and its vox humana* that sounds like a giant singing." 
'The same," answered Lambert van Mounen. 

Peter was right. The church was open, though not for 
religious services. Some one was playing upon the organ. As 
the boys entered, a swell of sound rushed forth to meet them. 
It seemed to bear them, one by one, into the shadows of the 
building. 

Louder and louder it grew until it became like the din and 
roar of some mighty tempest, or like the ocean surging upon 
the shore. In the midst of the tumult a tinkling bell was heard ; 
another answered, then another, and the storm paused as if 
to listen. The bells grew bolder; they rang out loud and clear. 
Other deep-toned bells joined in; they were tolling in solemn 
concert ding, dong! ding, dong! The storm broke forth 
again with redoubled fury gathering its distant thunder. 
The boys looked at each other, but did not speak. It was 
growing serious. What was that? Who screamed? What 
screamed that terrible, musical scream? Was it man or 
demon? Or was it some monster shut up behind that carved 
brass frame behind those great silver columns some despair- 
ing monster begging, screaming for freedom? It was the 
Vox Humana! 

* An organ stop which produces an effect resembling the HUMAN 
VOICE. 

[122] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

At last an answer came soft, tender, loving, like a 
mother's song. The storm grew silent; hidden birds sprang 
forth, filling the air with glad, ecstatic music, rising higher and 
higher until the last faint note was lost in the distance. 

The Vox Humana was stilled; but in the glorious hymn 
of thanksgiving that now arose one could almost hear the 
throbbing of a human heart. What did it mean? That man's 
imploring cry should in time be met with a deep content? 
That gratitude would give us freedom? To Peter and Ben 
it seemed that the angels were singing. Their eyes grew dim, 
and their souls dizzy with a strange joy. At last, as if borne 
upward by invisible hands, they were floating away on the 
music, all fatigue forgotten, and with no wish but to hear 
forever those beautiful sounds --when suddenly van Holp's 
sleeve was pulled impatiently and a gruff voice beside him 
asked, 

"How long are you going to stay here, captain blinking 
at the ceiling like a sick rabbit? It's high time we started." 

"Hush!" whispered Peter, only half aroused. 

"Come, man! Let's go," said Carl, giving the sleeve a 
second pull. 

Peter turned reluctantly; he would not detain the boys 
against their will. All but Ben were casting rather reproach- 
ful glances upon him. 

"Well, boys," he whispered, "we will go. Softly now." 

"That's the greatest thing I've seen or heard since I've 
been in Holland!" cried Ben, enthusiastically, as soon as they 
reached the open air. "It's glorious!" 

Ludwig and Carl laughed slyly at the English boy's war- 

[123] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

taal, or gibberish; Jacob yawned; Peter gave Ben a look that 
made him instantly feel that he and Peter were not so very 
different after all, though one hailed from Holland and the 
other from England ; and Lambert, the interpreter, responded 
with a brisk 

"You may well say so. I believe there are one or two 
organs now-a-days that are said to be as fine; but for years 
and years this organ of St. Bavon was the grandest in the 
world." 

"Do you know how large it is?" asked Ben. 'I noticed 
that the church itself was prodigiously high and that the organ 
filled the end of the great aisle almost from floor to roof." 

"That's true," said Lambert, "and how superb the pipes 
looked just like grand columns of silver. They're only for 
show, you know; the real pipes are behind them, some big 
enough for a man to crawl through, and some smaller than a 
baby's whistle. Well, sir, for size, the church is higher than 
Westminster Abbey, to begin with, and, as you say, the organ 
makes a tremendous show even then. Father told me last 
night that it is one hundred and eight feet high, fifty feet 
broad, and has over five thousand pipes ; it has sixty -four stops, 
if you know what they are, / don't, and three key-boards." 

"Good for you!" said Ben. 'You have a fine memory. 
My head is a perfect colander for figures ; they slip through as 
fast as they're poured in. But other facts and historical 
events stay behind that's some consolation." 

'There we differ," returned van Mounen, "I'm great on 
names and figures, but history, take it altogether, seems to me 

to be the most hopeless kind of a jumble." 

[124] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

Meantime Carl and Ludwig were having a discussion con- 
cerning some square wooden monuments they had observed 
in the interior of the church; Ludwig declared that each bore 
the name of the person buried beneath, and Carl insisted that 
they had no names, but only the heraldic arms of the deceased 
painted on a black ground, with the date of the death in gilt 
letters. 

"I ought to know," said Carl, "for I walked across to the 
east side, to look for the cannon-ball which mother told me was 
embedded there. It was fired into the church, in the year 
fifteen hundred and something, by those rascally Spaniards, 
while the services were going on. There it was in the wall, sure 
enough, and while I was walking back, I noticed the monu- 
ments I tell you they haven't a sign of a name upon them." 

"Ask Peter," said Ludwig, only half convinced. 

"Carl is right," replied Peter, who, though conversing with 
Jacob, had overheard their dispute. 'Well, Jacob, as I was 
saying, Handel the great composer chanced to visit Haarlem 
and of course he at once hunted up this famous organ. He 
gained admittance, and was playing upon it with all his might, 
when the regular organist chanced to enter the building. The 
man stood awe-struck; he was a good player himself, but he 
had never heard such music before. 'Who is there?' he 
cried, 'If it is not an angel or the devil, it must be Handel!' 
W T hen he discovered that it was the great musician, he was 
still more mystified! 'But how is this?' said he, 'You have 
done impossible things no ten fingers on earth can play the 
passages you have given; human hands couldn't control all 

the keys and stops!' 'I know it,' said Handel, coolly, 'and 

[125] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

for that reason I was forced to strike some notes with the 
end of iny nose/ Donder! just think how the old organist 
must have stared!" 

"Hey! What?" exclaimed Jacob, startled when Peter's 
animated voice suddenly became silent. 

"Haven't you heard me, you rascal?" was the indignant 
rejoinder. 

"Oh, yes no the fact is I heard you at first I'm 
awake now% but I do believe I've been walking beside you 
half asleep," stammered Jacob, with such a doleful, bewil- 
dered look on his face, that Peter could not help laughing. 



[1261 



XVII 
THE MAN WITH FOUR HEADS 

A FTER leaving the church, the boys stopped near by in 
Z-% the open market-place, to look at the bronze statue of 
^ ^* Laurens Janzoon Coster, who is believed by the Dutch 
to have been the inventor of printing. This is disputed by 
those who award the same honor to Johannes Gutenberg 
of Mayence; while many maintain that Faust us, a servant 
of Coster, stole his master's wooden types on a Christmas eve, 
when the latter was at church, and fled with his booty, and 
his secret, to Mayence. Coster was a native of Haarlem, and 
the Hollanders are naturally anxious to secure the credit of 
the invention for their illustrious townsman. Certain it is, 
that the first book he printed is kept, by the city, in a silver 
case wrapped in silk, and is shown with great caution as a 
most precious relic. It is said he first conceived the idea of 
printing from cutting his name upon the bark of a tree, and 
afterward pressing a piece of paper upon the characters. 

Of course Lambert and his English friend fully discussed 
this subject. They also had rather a warm argument concern- 
ing another invention. Lambert declared that the honor of 
giving both the telescope and microscope to the world lay 
between Metius and Jansen, both Hollanders; while Ben as 
stoutly insisted that Roger Bacon, an English monk of the 
thirteenth century, :< wrote out the while thing, sir, perfect 
descriptions of microscopes and telescopes, too, long before 

either of those other fellows were born." 

[ 127] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

On one subject, however, they both agreed: that the art 
of curing and pickling herrings was discovered by William 
Beukles of Holland, and that the country did perfectly right 
in honoring him as a national benefactor, for its wealth and 
importance had been in a great measure due to its herring 
trade. 

"It is astonishing," said Ben, "in what prodigious quanti- 
ties those fish are found. I don't know how it is here, but on 
the coast of England, off Yarmouth, the herring shoals have 
been known to be six and seven feet deep with fish." 

"That is prodigious, indeed," said Lambert, ; 'but you 
know your word herring is derived from the German heer, an 
army, on account of a way the fish have of coming in large 
numbers." 

Soon afterw r ard, while passing a cobbler's shop, Ben ex- 
claimed : 

'Hello! Lambert, here is the name of one of your greatest 
men over a cobbler's stall! Boerhaave if it were only Her- 
man Boerhaave instead of Hendrick, it would be complete." 

Lambert knit his brows reflectively, as he replied: 
'Boerhaave Boerhaave the name is perfectly familiar; 
I remember, too, he was born in 1668, but the rest is all gone, 
as usual. There have been so many famous Hollanders, you 
see it is impossible for a fellow to know them all. What was 
he? Did he have two heads? or was he one of your great 
natural swimmers, like Marco Polo?" 

'He had four heads," answered Ben, laughing, "for he was 
a great physician, naturalist, botanist and chemist. I am full 
of him just now, for I read his life a few weeks ago." 

[128] 



THE SILVER SKATES 



"Pour out a little, then," said Lambert, "only walk faster, 
we shall lose sight of the other boys." 

"Well," resumed Ben, quickening his pace, and looking 
with great interest at everything going on in the crowded 
street, "this Dr. Boerhaave was a great anspewker." 

"A great what?" roared Lambert. 

"Oh, I beg pardon I was thinking of that man over there, 
with the cocked hat. He's an anspewker, isn't he?" 

"Yes. He's an aanspreeker if that is what you mean to 
say. But what about your friend with the four heads?" 

"Well, as I was going to say, the doctor was left a penni- 
less orphan at sixteen without education or friends." 

"Jolly beginning!" interposed Lambert. 

"Now, don't interrupt. He was a poor friendless orphan 
at sixteen, but he wa,s so persevering and industrious, so deter- 
mined to gain knowledge, that he made his way, and in time 

became one of the most learned men of Europe. All the 

what is that?" 

"Where? What do you mean?" 

"Why, that paper on the door opposite. Don't you see? 
Two or three persons are reading it; I have noticed several 
of these papers since I've been here." 

"Oh, that's only a health bulletin. Somebody in the house 
is ill, and to prevent a steady knocking at the door, the family 
write an account of the patient's condition on a placard, and 
hang it outside the door, for the benefit of inquiring friends- 
a very sensible custom, I'm sure. Nothing strange about it 
that I can see go on, please you said 'all the' and there 

you left me hanging." 

[129] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 



'I was going to say," resumed Ben, "that all the all the 
-how comically persons do dress here, to be sure! Just look 
at those men and women with their sugar-loaf hats and see 
this woman ahead of us with a straw-bonnet like a scoop- 
shovel tapering to a point in the back. Did ever you see any- 
thing so funny? And those tremendous wooden shoes, too 
I declare she's a beauty!" 

"Oh, they are only back-country folk," said Lambert, 
rather impatiently- 'You might as well let old Boerhaave 
drop, or else shut your eyes- 

"Ha! ha! Well, I was going to say all the big men of 
his day sought out this great professor. Even Peter the Great 
when he came over to Holland from Russia to learn ship- 
building, attended his lectures regularly. By that time Boer- 
haave was professor of Medicine and Chemistry and Botany 
in the University of Leyden. He had grown to be very wealthy 
as a practicing physician; but he used to say that the poor 
were his best patients because God would be their paymaster. 
All Europe learned to love and honor him. In short, he be- 
came so famous that a certain mandarin of China addressed 
a letter to 'The illustrious Boerhaave, physician in Europe,' 
and the letter found its way to him without any difficulty." 

'My goodness! That is what I call being a public charac- 
ter. The boys have stopped. How now, Captain van Holp, 
where next?" 

'We propose to move on," said van Holp, "there is nothing 
to see at this season in the Bosch the Bosch is a noble wood, 
Benjamin, a grand Park where they have most magnificent 
trees, protected by law Do you understand?" 

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THE SILVER SKATES 

"Ya!" nodded Ben, as the Captain proceeded: 

"Unless you all desire to visit the Museum of Natural 
History, we may go on the grand canal again. If we had more 
time it would be pleasant to take Benjamin up the Blue 
Stairs. " 

"What are the Blue Stairs, Lambert?" asked Ben. 

"They are the highest point of the Dunes. You have a 
grand view of the ocean from there, besides a fine chance to 
see how wonderful these Dunes are. One can hardly believe 
that the wind could ever heap up sand in so remarkable a way. 
But we have to go through Bloemendal to get there not a 
very pretty village, and some distance from here. What do 
you say?" 

"Oh, I am ready for anything. For my part, I would 
rather steer direct for Leyden, but we'll do as the Captain 
says hey, Jacob?" 

"Ya, dat ish goot," said Jacob, who felt decidedly more 
like taking another nap than ascending the Blue Stairs. 

The captain was in favor of going to Leyden. 

" It's four long miles from here. (Full sixteen of your Eng- 
lish miles, Benjamin.) We have no time to lose if you wish to 
reach there before midnight. Decide quickly, boys Blue 
Stairs or Leyden?" 

"Leyden," they answered and were out of Haarlem in a 
twinkling, admiring the lofty, tower-like windmills and pretty 
country-seats as they left the city behind them. 

"If you really wish to see Haarlem," said Lambert to Ben, 
after they had skated awhile in silence, "You should visit it 

in summer. It is the greatest place in the world for beautiful 

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HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

flowers. The walks around the city are superb; and the 
'Wood/ with its miles of noble elms, all in full feather, is some- 
thing to remember. You need not smile, old fellow, at my 
saying 'full feather'- -I was thinking of waving plumes, and 
got my words mixed up a little. But a Dutch elm beats every- 
thing; it is the noblest tree on earth, Ben if you except the 
English oak- 

"Aye," said Ben, solemnly, "if you except the English 
oak" and for some moments he could scarcely see the canal 
because Robby and Jenny kept bobbing in the air before his 
eyes. 



[132] 



XVIII 
FRIENDS IN NEED 

MEANTIME the other boys were listening to Peter's 
account of an incident which had long ago occurred* 
in a part of the city where stood an ancient castle, 
whose lord had tyrannized over the burghers of the town to 
such an extent that they surrounded his castle, and laid siege 
to it. Just at the last extremity, when the haughty lord felt 
that he could hold out no longer, and was preparing to sell 
his life as dearly as possible, his lady appeared on the ramparts, 
and offered to surrender everything, provided she was per- 
mitted to bring out, and retain, as much of her most precious 
household goods as she could carry upon her back. The 
promise was given and forth came the lady from the gate- 
way, bearing her husband upon her shoulders. The burghers' 
pledge preserved him from the fury of the troops, but left them 
free to wreak their vengeance upon the castle. 

"Do you believe that story, Captain Peter?" asked Carl, 
in an incredulous tone. 

"Of course I do; it is historical. Why should I doubt it?" 

" Simply because no woman could do it and, if she could, 
she wouldn't. That is my opinion." 

"And / believe there are many who would. That is, to 
save any one they really cared for," said Ludwig. 

Jacob, who in spite of his fat and sleepiness, was of rather 
a sentimental turn, had listened with deep interest. 

* Sir Thomas Carr's Tour through Holland. 
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HANS BRINKER; OR, 

"That is right, little fellow," he said, nodding his head ap- 
provingly, "I believe every word of it. I shall never marry 
a woman who would not be glad to do as much for me." 

"Heaven help her!" cried Carl, turning to gaze at the 
speaker, "why, Poot, three men couldn't do it!" 

"Perhaps not," said Jacob quietly feeling that he had 
asked rather too much of the future Mrs. Poot. : 'But she 
must be willing, that is all." 

"Aye," responded Peter's cheery voice, :< willing heart 
makes nimble foot and who knows, but it may make strong 
arms also." 

; 'Pete," asked Ludwig, changing the subject, "did you 
tell me last night that the painter Wouvermans was born in 
Haarlem?" 

"Yes, and Jacob Ruysdael and Berghem too. I like Berg- 
hem because he was always good-natured they say he always 
sang while he painted, and though he died nearly two hundred 
years ago, there are traditions still afloat concerning his pleas- 
ant laugh. He was a great painter, and he had a wife as cross 
as Xantippe." 

'They balanced each other finely," said Ludwig, "he was 
kind and she was cross. But, Peter, before I forget it, wasn't 
that picture of St. Hubert and the Horse painted by Wouver- 
mans? You remember father showed us an engraving from 
it last night." 

'Yes, indeed; there is a story connected with that picture." 
'Tell us!" cried two or three, drawing closer to Peter as 
they skated on. 

* Wouvermans," began the captain, oratorically, "was 

[134] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

born in 1620, just four years before Berghem. He was a 
master of his art, and especially excelled in painting horses. 
Strange as it may seem, people were so long finding out his 
merits that, even after he had arrived at the height of his 
excellence, he was obliged to sell his pictures for very paltry 
prices. The poor artist became completely discouraged, and, 
worse than all, was over head and ears in debt. One day he 
was talking over his troubles with his father-confessor, who 
was one of the few who recognised his genius. The priest 
determined to assist him, and accordingly lent him six hun- 
dred guilders, advising him at the same time to demand a 
better price for his pictures. Wouvermans did so, and in the 
meantime paid his debts. Matters brightened with him at 
once. Everybody appreciated the great artist who painted 
such costly pictures. He grew rich. The six hundred guilders 
were returned, and in gratitude, Wouvermans sent also a work 
which he had painted, representing his benefactor as Saint 
Hubert kneeling before his horse the very picture, Ludwig, 
of which we were speaking last night." 

"So! so!" exclaimed Ludwig, with deep interest, *I 
must take another look at the engraving as soon as we get 
home." 

At that same hour, while Ben was skating with his com- 
panions beside the Holland dyke, Robby and Jenny stood in 
their pretty English school-house, ready to join in the duties 
of their reading class. 

"Commence! Master Robert Dobbs," said the teacher, 
"page 242, now, sir, mind every stop." 

[135] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

And Robby, in a quick childish voice roared forth at 
school-room pitch: 

"LESSON 62. THE HERO OF HAARLEM 

'Many years ago, there lived in Haarlem, one of the prin- 
cipal cities of Holland, a sunny-haired boy, of gentle disposi- 
tion. His father was a sluicer, that is, a man whose business 
it was to open and close the sluices, or large oaken gates, 
that are placed at regular distances across the entrances of the 
canals, to regulate the amount of water that shall flow into 
them. 

'The sluicer raises the gates more or less according to the 
quantity of water required, and closes them carefully at night, 
in order to avoid all possible danger of an over supply running 
into the canal, or the water would soon overflow it and in- 
undate the surrounding country. As a great portion of Hol- 
land is lower than the level of the sea, the waters are kept from 
flooding the land only by means of strong dykes, or barriers, 
and by means of these sluices, which are often strained to the 
utmost by the pressure of the rising tides. Even the little 
children in Holland know that constant watchfulness is re- 
quired to keep the rivers and ocean from overwhelming the 
country, and that a moment's neglect of the sluicer's duty 
may bring ruin and death to all." 

["Very good," said the teacher; : 'now, Susan."] 

"One lovely autumn afternoon, when the boy was about 
eight years old, he obtained his parents' consent to carry some 
cakes to a blind man who lived out in the country, on the other 

side of the dyke. The little fellow started on his errand with 

[136] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

a light heart, and having spent an hour with his grateful old 
friend, he bade him farewell and started on his homeward walk. 
'Trudging stoutly along by the canal, he noticed how the 
autumn rains had swollen the waters. Even while humming 
his careless, childish song, he thought of his father's brave old 
gates and felt glad of their strength, for, thought he, 'if they 
gave way, where would father and mother be? These pretty 
fields would be all covered with the angry waters father 
always calls them the angry waters, I suppose he thinks they 
are mad at him for keeping them out so long.' And with 
these thoughts just flitting across his brain, the little fellow 
stooped to pick the pretty blue flowers that grew along his 
way. Sometimes he stopped to throw some feathery seed-ball 
in the air, and watch it as it floated away; sometimes he lis- 
tened to the stealthy rustling of a rabbit, speeding through 
the grass, but oftener he smiled as he recalled the happy light 
he had seen arise on the weary, listening face of his blind old 
friend." 

["Now, Henry," said the teacher, nodding to the next 
little reader.] 

"Suddenly the boy looked around him in dismay. He had 
not noticed that the sun was setting: now he saw that his 
long shadow on the grass had vanished. It was growing dark, 
he was still some distance from home, and in a lonely ravine, 
where even the blue flowers had turned to gray. He quickened 
his footsteps; and with a beating heart recalled many a nur- 
sery tale of children belated in dreary forests. Just as he was 
bracing himself for a run, he was startled by the sound of 

trickling water. Whence did it come? He looked up and saw 

[137] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

a small hole in the dyke through which a tiny stream was 
flowing. Any child in Holland will shudder at the thought of 
a leak in the dyke! The boy understood the danger at a glance. 
That little hole, if the water were allowed to trickle through, 
would soon be a large one, and a terrible inundation would be 
the result. 

"Quick as a flash, he saw his duty. Throwing away his 
flowers, the boy clambered up the heights until he reached 
the hole. His chubby little finger was thrust in, almost before 
he knew it. The flowing was stopped! 'Ah!' he thought, with 
a chuckle of boyish delight, 'the angry waters must stay back 
now ! Haarlem shall not be drowned while I am here ! * 

'This was all very well at first, but the night was falling 
rapidly; chill vapors filled the air. Our little hero began to 
tremble with cold and dread. He shouted loudly; he screamed 
'come here! come here!' but no one came. The cold grew 
more intense, a numbness, commencing in the tired little finger, 
crept over his hand and arm, and soon his whole body was 
filled with pain. He shouted again, ' will no one come? Mother ! 
mother!' Alas, his mother, good, practical soul, had already 
locked the doors, and had fully resolved to scold him on the 
morrow for spending the night with blind Jansen without her 
permission. He tried to whistle, perhaps some straggling boy 
might heed the signal; but his teeth chattered so, it was im- 
possible. Then he called on God for help; and the answer 
came, through a holy resolution 'I will stay here till morn- 



["Now, Jenny Dobbs," said the teacher. Jenny's eyes 
were glistening, but she took a long breath and commenced:] 

[138] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

"The midnight moon looked down upon that small solitary 
form, sitting upon a stone, half-way up the dyke. His head 
was bent but he was not asleep, for every now and then one 
restless hand feebly rubbed the outstretched arm that seemed 
fastened to the dyke and often the pale, tearful face turned 
quickly at some real or fancied sound. 

"How can we know the sufferings of that long and fearful 
watch what falterings of purpose, what childish terrors came 
over the boy as he thought of the warm little bed at home, of 
his parents, his brothers and sisters, then looked into the cold, 
dreary night! If he drew away that tiny finger, the angry 
waters, grown angrier still, would rush forth, and never stop 
until they had swept over the town. No, he would hold it 
there till daylight if he lived ! He was not very sure of living. 
What did this strange buzzing mean? and then the knives 
that seemed pricking and piercing him from head to foot? 
He was not certain now that he could draw his finger away, 
even if he wished to. 

"At daybreak a clergyman, returning from the bedside of 
a sick parishioner, thought he heard groans as he walked along 
on the top of the dyke. Bending, he saw, far down on the side, 
a child apparently writhing with pain. 

"'In the name of wonder, boy,' he exclaimed, 'what are 
you going there? ' 

'"I am keeping the water from running out,' was the simple 
answer of the little hero. 'Tell them to come quick.' 

"It is needless to add that they did come quickly and 
that" 

["Jenny Dobbs," said the teacher, rather impatiently, "if 

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HANS BRLXKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

you cannot control your feelings so as to read distinctly, we 
will wait until you recover yourself." 

"Yes, sir!" said Jenny, quite startled.] 

It was strange; but at that very moment Ben, far over 
the sea, was saying to Lambert 

"The noble little fellow! I have frequently met with an 
account of the incident, but I never knew, till now, that it 
was really true." 

"True! Of course it is," said Lambert, kindling. "I have 
given you the story just as mother told it to me, years ago. 
Why, there is not a child in Holland who does not know it. 
And, Ben, you may not think so, but that little boy represents 
the spirit of the whole country. Not a leak can show itself 
anywhere, either in its politics, honor, or public safety, that a 
million ringers are not ready to stop it, at any cost." 

"Whew!" cried Master Ben, "big talking that!" 

'It's true talk anyway," rejoined Lambert, so very quietly 
that Ben wisely resolved to make no further comment. 



[140] 



XIX 
ON THE CANAL 

THE skating season had commenced unusually early; 
our boys were by no means alone upon the ice. The 
afternoon was so fine that men, women, and children, 
bent upon enjoying the holiday, had flocked to the grand canal 
from far and near. Saint Nicholas had evidently remembered 
the favorite pastime; shining new skates were everywhere to 
be seen. Whole families were skimming their way to Haarlem 
or Leyden or the neighboring villages. The ice seemed fairly 
alive. Ben noticed the erect, easy carriage of the women, 
and their picturesque variety of costume. There were the 
latest fashions, fresh from Paris, floating past dingy, moth- 
eaten garments that had seen service through two generations; 
coal-scuttle bonnets perched over freckled faces bright with 
holiday smiles; stiff muslin caps, with wings at the sides, 
flapping beside cheeks rosy with health and contentment: 
furs, too, encircling the whitest of throats; and scanty gar- 
ments fluttering below faces ruddy with exercise In short, 
every quaint and comical mixture of dry -goods and flesh that 
Holland could furnish seemed sent to enliven the scene. 

There were belles from Leyden, and fishwives from the 
border villages ; cheese women from Gouda, and prim matrons 
from beautiful country-seats on the Haarlemmer Meer. Grey- 
headed skaters were constantly to be seen; wrinkled old 
women, with baskets upon their heads; and plump little tod- 
dlers on skates clutching at their mothers' gowns. Some 

[141] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

women carried their babies upon their backs, firmly secured 
with a bright shawl. The effect was pretty and graceful as 
they darted by, or sailed slowly past, now nodding to an ac- 
quaintance, now chirruping, and throwing soft baby-talk to 
the muffled little ones they carried. 

Boys and girls were chasing each other, and hiding behind 
the one-horse sleds, that, loaded high with peat or timber, 
pursued their cautious way along the track marked out as 
'safe.' Beautiful, queenly women were there, enjoyment 
sparkling in their quiet eyes. Sometimes a long file of young 
men, each grasping the coat of the one before him, flew by 
with electric speed; and sometimes the ice squeaked under the 
chair of some gorgeous old dowager, or rich burgomaster's lady 
-who, very red in the nose, and sharp in the eyes, looked like 
a scare-thaw invented by old father Winter for the protection 
of his skating grounds. The chair would be heavy with foot- 
stoves and cushions, to say nothing of the old lady. Mounted 
upon shining runners, it slid along, pushed by the sleepiest of 
servants, who, looking neither to the right nor the left, bent 
himself to his task while she cast direful glances upon the 
screaming little rowdies who invariably acted as bodyguard. 

As for the men, they were pictures of placid enjoyment. 
Some were attired in ordinary citizen's dress ; but many looked 
odd enough with their short woolen coats, wide breeches, and 
big silver buckles. These seemed to Ben like little boys who 
had, by a miracle, sprung suddenly into manhood, and were 
forced to wear garments that their astonished mothers had 
altered in a hurry. He noticed, too, that nearly all the men 
had pipes, as they passed him whizzing and smoking like so 

[ 142 ] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

many locomotives. There was every variety of pipes from 
those of common clay to the most expensive meerschaums 
mounted in silver and gold. Some were carved into extra- 
ordinary and fantastic shapes, representing birds, flowers, 
heads, bugs, and dozens of other things; some resembled the 
''Dutchman's pipe" that grows in our American woods; some 
were red, and many were of a pure snowy white; but the most 
respectable were those which were ripening into a shaded 
brown the deeper and richer the brown, of course the more 
honored the pipe, for it was a proof that the owner, if honestly 
shading it, was deliberately devoting his manhood to the 
effort What pipe would not be proud to be the object of such 
a sacrifice! 

For awhile Ben skated on in silence. There was so much 
to engage his attention that he almost forgot his companions. 
Part of the time he had been watching the ice-boats as they 
flew over the great Haarlemmer Meer (or lake), the frozen 
surface of which was now plainly visible from the canal. 
These boats had very large sails, much larger, in proportion, 
than those of ordinary vessels, and were set upon a triangular 
frame furnished with an iron "runner" at each corner, the 
widest part of the triangle crossing the bow, and its point 
stretching beyond the stern. They had rudders for guiding, 
and brakes for arresting their progress; and were of all sizes 
and kinds, from small, rough affairs managed by a boy, to 
large and beautiful ones filled with gay pleasure parties, and 
manned by competent sailors, who, smoking their stumpy pipes, 
reefed and tacked and steered with great solemnity and pre- 
cision. 

[143] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

Some of the boats were painted and gilded in gaudy style 
and flaunted gay pennons from their mast-heads ; others, white 
as snow, with every spotless sail rounded by the wind, looked 
like swans borne onward by a resistless current. It seemed to 
Ben as, following his fancy, he watched one of these in the 
distance, that he could almost hear its helpless, terrified cry, 
but he soon found that the sound arose from a nearer and less 
romantic cause from an ice-boat not fifty yards from him, 
using its brakes to avoid a collision with a peat-sled. 

It was a rare thing for these boats to be upon the canal, 
and their appearance generally caused no little excitement 
among skaters, especially among the timid; but to-day every 
ice-boat in the country seemed afloat or rather aslide, and the 
canal had its full share. 

Ben, though delighted at the sight, was often startled at 
the swift approach of the resistless, high-winged things threat- 
ening to dart in any and every possible direction. It required 
all his energies to keep out of the way of the passers-by, and 
to prevent those screaming little urchins from upsetting him 
with their sleds. Once he halted to watch some boys who were 
making a hole in the ice preparatory to using their fishing 
spears. Just as he concluded to start again, he found himself 
suddenly bumped into an old lady's lap. Her push-chair had 
come upon him from the rear. The old lady screamed, the 
servant who was propelling her gave a warning hiss in an- 
other instant Ben found himself apologizing to empty air; 
the indignant old lady was far ahead. 

This was a slight mishap compared with one that now 
threatened him. A huge ice-boat, under full sail, came tear- 

[144] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

ing down the canal, almost paralyzing Ben with the thought 
of instant destruction. It was close upon him! He saw its 
gilded prow, heard the schipper shout, felt the great boom 
fairly whizz over his head, was blind, deaf and dumb all in 
an instant, then opened his eyes, to find himself spinning 
some yards behind its great, skate-like rudder. It had passed 
within an inch of his shoulder, but he was safe! safe to see 
England again, safe to kiss the dear faces that for an instant 
had flashed before him one by one father, mother, Robby 
and Jenny that great boom had dashed their images into his 
very soul. He knew now how much he loved them. Perhaps 
this knowledge made him face complacently the scowls of those 
on the canal who seemed to feel that a boy in danger was nec- 
essarily a bad boy needing instant reprimand. 

Lambert chided him roundly. 

"I thought it was all over with you, you careless fellow! 
Why don't you look where you are going? Not content with 
sitting on all the old ladies' laps, you must make a Juggernaut 
of every ice-boat that comes along. We shall have to hand 
you over to the aansprekers yet, if you don't look out!" 

"Please don't," said Ben, with mock humility then see- 
ing how pale Lambert's lips were, added in a low tone: 

"I do believe I thought more in that one moment, van 
Mounen, than in all the rest of my past life." 

There was no reply, and, for awhile, the two boys skated 
on in silence. 

Soon a faint sound of distant bells reached their ears. 

"Hark!" said Ben, "what is that?" 

'The carillons," replied Lambert. "They are trying the 

[145] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

bells in the chapel of yonder village. Ah! Ben, you should 
hear the chimes of the 'New Church* at Delft; they are su- 
perb nearly five hundred sweet-toned bells, and one of the 
best carilloneurs of Holland to play upon them. Hard work, 
though; they say the fellow often has to go to bed from posi- 
tive exhaustion after his performances. You see, the bells are 
attached to a kind of keyboard, something like they have on 
pianofortes; there are also a set of pedals for the feet; when 
a brisk tune is going on, the player looks like a kicking frog 
fastened to his seat with a skewer." 

'For shame," said Ben, indignantly. 

Peter had, for the present, exhausted his stock of Haarlem 
anecdotes, and now, having nothing to do but to skate, he 
and his three companions were hastening to "catch up" with 
Lambert and Ben. 

'That English lad is fleet enough," said Peter, "if he were 
a born Hollander he could do no better. Generally these 
John Bulls make but a sorry figure on skates Hallo! Here 
you are, van Mounen, why we hardly hoped for the honor of 
meeting you again. Who were you flying from in such haste?" 

"Snails," retorted Lambert. 'What kept you?" 

'We have been talking and, beside, we halted once to 
give Poot a chance to rest." 

"He begins to look rather worn out," said Lambert in a 
low voice. 

Just then a beautiful ice-boat, with reefed sail and flying 
streamers, swept leisurely by. Its deck was filled with chil- 
dren muffled up to their chins. Looking at them from the ice 

you could see only smiling little faces imbedded in bright- 

[146] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

colored, woolen wrappings. They were singing a chorus in 
honor of Saint Nicholas. The music, starting in the discord 
of a hundred childish voices, floated, as it rose, into exquisite 
harmony : 

Friend of sailors, and of children! 

Double claim have we, 
As in youthful joy we're sailing, 

O'er a frozen sea! 

Nicholas! Saint Nicholas! 

Let us sing to thee. 

While through Wintry air we're rushing, 

As our voices blend, 
Are you near us? Do you hear us, 
Nicholas, our friend? 

Nicholas! Saint Nicholas! 
Love can never end. 

Sunny sparkles, bright before us, 

Chase away the cold! 

Hearts where sunny thoughts are welcome, 
Never can grow old 

Nicholas! Saint Nicholas! 
Never can grow old! 

i 
Pretty gift and loving lesson, 

Festival and glee, 
Bid us thank thee as we're sailing 
O'er the frozen sea 

Nicholas! Saint Nicholas! 
So we sing to thee! 



[147] 



XX 

JACOB POOT CHANGES THE PLAN 

THE last note died away in the distance. Our boys, 
who in their vain efforts to keep up with the boat, had 
felt that they were skating backward, turned to look 
at one another. 

"How beautiful that was!" exclaimed van Mounen. 

"Just like a dream!" said Ludwig. 

Jacob drew close to Ben, giving his usual approving nod, 
as he spoke: 

"Dat ish goot. Dat ish te pest vay / shay petter to take 
to Ley den mit a poat!" 

"Take a boat!" exclaimed Ben, in dismay "why, man, 
our plan was to skate, not to be carried like little children 

'Tuyfels!" retorted Jacob, "dat ish no little no papies 
to go for poat!" 

The boys laughed, but exchanged uneasy glances. It 
would be great fun to jump on an ice-boat, if they had a chance; 
but to abandon so shamefully their grand undertaking who 
could think of such a thing? 

An animated discussion arose at once. 

Captain Peter brought his party to a halt. 

'Boys," said he, "it strikes me that we should consult 
Jacob's wishes in this matter. He started the excursion, you 
know." 

'Pooh!" sneered Carl, throwing a contemptuous glance 

at Jacob, "who's tired? We can rest all night at Ley den." 

[148] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

Ludwig and Lambert looked anxious and disappointed. 
It was no slight thing to lose the credit of having skated all 
the way from Broek to the Hague, and back again; but both 
agreed that Jacob should decide the question. 

Good-natured, tired Jacob! He read the popular senti- 
ment at a glance. 

"Oh! no," he said, in Dutch. "I was joking. We will 
skate, of course." 

The boys gave a delighted shout, and started on again with 
renewed vigor 

All but Jacob. He tried his best not to seem fatigued, and, 
by not saying a word, saved his breath and energy for the 
great business of skating. But in vain. Before long the stout 
body grew heavier and heavier the tottering limbs weaker 
and weaker. Worse than all, the blood, anxious to get far 
as possible from the ice, mounted to the puffy, good-natured 
cheeks, and made the roots of his thin, yellow hair glow into 
a fiery red. 

This kind of work is apt to summon Vertigo, of whom 
good Hans Andersen writes the same who hurls daring young 
hunters from the mountains, or spins them from the sharpest 
heights of the glaciers, or catches them as they tread the 
stepping-stones of the mountain torrent. 

Vertigo came, unseen, to Jacob. After tormenting him 
awhile, with one touch sending a chill from head to foot, with 
the next scorching every vein with fever, she made the canal 
rock and tremble beneath him, the white sails bow and spin 
as they passed, then cast him heavily upon the ice. 

"Hallo!" cried van Mounen. "There goes Foot!" 

[149] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

Ben sprang hastily forward. 

"Jacob! Jacob, are you hurt?" 

Peter and Carl were lifting him. The face was white 
enough now. It seemed like a dead face even the good- 
natured look was gone. 

A crowd collected. Peter unbuttoned the poor boy's 
jacket, loosened his red tippet, and blew between the parted 
lips. 

''Stand off, good people!" he cried, "give him air!" 

'Lay him down," called out a woman from the crowd. 

"Stand him upon his feet," shouted another. 

"Give him wine," growled a stout fellow who was driving 
a loaded sled. 

'Yes! yes, give him wine!" echoed everybody. 

Ludwig and Lambert shouted in concert: 

"Wine! wine! Who has wine?" 

A sleepy-eyed Dutchman began to fumble mysteriously 
under the heaviest of blue jackets, saying as he did so, 

: 'Not so much noise, young masters, not so much noise! 
The boy was a fool to faint off like a girl." 

'Wine, quick!" cried Peter, who, with Ben's help, was 
rubbing Jacob from head to foot. 

Ludwig stretched forth his hand imploringly toward the 
Dutchman, who, with an air of great importance, was still 
fumbling beneath the jacket. 

"Do hurry! He will die! Has any one else any wine?" 

''He is dead!" said an awful voice from among the by 
standers. 

This startled the Dutchman. 

[150] 



THE SILVER SKATES 



"Have a care!" he said, reluctantly drawing forth a small 
blue flask, "this is schnaps. A little is enough." 

A little was enough. The paleness gave way to a faint 
flush. Jacob opened his eyes, and, half bewildered, half 
ashamed, feebly tried to free himself from those who were 
supporting him. 

There was no alternative, now, for our party but to have 
their exhausted comrade carried, in some way, to Leyden. 
As for expecting him to skate any more that day, the thing 
was impossible. In truth, by this time each boy began to 
entertain secret yearnings towards ice-boats, and to avow a 
Spartan resolve not to desert Jacob. Fortunately a gentle, 
steady breeze was setting southward. If some accommo- 
dating schipper* would but come along, matters would not 
be quite so bad after all. 

Peter hailed the first sail that appeared; the men in the 
stern would not even look at him. Three drays on runners 
came along, but they were already loaded to the utmost. 
Then an ice-boat, a beautiful, tempting little one, whizzed 
past like an arrow. The boys had just time to stare eagerly 
at it when it was gone. In despair, they resolved to prop up 
Jacob with their strong arms, as well as they could, and take 
him to the nearest village. 

At that moment a very shabby ice-boat came in sight. 
With but little hope of success, Peter hailed it, at the same time 
taking off his hat and flourishing it in the air. 

* Skipper. Master of a small trading vessel, a pleasure-boat or ice- 
boat. 

[151] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

The sail was lowered, then came the scraping sound of the 
brake, and a pleasant voice called out from the deck: 

"What now?" 

"Will you take us on?" cried Peter, hurrying with his com- 
panions as fast as he could, for the boat was "bringing to" 
some distance ahead, "will you take us on?" 

"We'll pay for the ride!" shouted Carl. 

The man on board scarcely noticed him except to mutter 
something about its not being a trekschuit. Still looking 
toward Peter he asked: 

"How many?' ; 

"Six." 

"Well, it's Nicholas' day up with you! Young gentle- 
man sick?" (nodding towards Jacob). 

"Yes broken down skated all the way from Broek," 
answered Peter -"Do you go to Ley den? " 

"That's as the wind says It's blowing that way now 
Scramble up!" 

Poor Jacob! if that willing Mrs. Poot had only appeared 
just then, her services would have been invaluable. It was 
as much as the bovs could do to hoist him into the boat. All 

w 

were in at last. The schipper, puffing away at his pipe, let 
out the sail, lifted the brake, and sat in the stern with folded 
arms. 

"Whew! How fast we go!" cried Ben, "this is something 
like! Feel better, Jacob?" 

"Much petter I tanks you." 

"Oh, you'll be as good as new in ten minutes. This makes 

a fellow feel like a bird." 

[152] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

Jacob nodded and blinked his eyes. 

" Don't go to sleep, Jacob; it's too cold. You might never 
wake up, you know. Persons often freeze to death in that way." 

"I no sleep," said Jacob confidently and in two minutes 
he was snoring. 

Carl and Ludwig laughed. 

'We must wake him!" cried Ben, "it is dangerous, I tell 
you, Jacob ! Ja-a-c 

Captain Peter interfered, for three of the boys were help- 
ing Ben for the fun of the thing. 

"Nonsense! don't shake him! Let him alone, boys. One 
never snores like that when one's freezing. Cover him up 
with something. Here, this cloak will do; hey, schipper?" 
and he looked toward the stern for permission to use it. 

The man nodded. 

'There," said Peter, tenderly adjusting the garment, "let 
him sleep. He will be frisky as a lamb when he wakes. How 
far are we from Leyden, schipper?" 

'Not more'n a couple of pipes," replied a voice, rising from 
smoke like the genii in fairy tales (puff! puff!), "likely not 
more'n one an' a half (puff! puff!) if this wind holds!" (puff! 
puff! puff!) 

'What is the man saying, Lambert?" asked Ben, who was 
holding his mittened hands against his cheeks to ward off 
the cutting air. 

; 'He says we're about two pipes from Leyden. Half the 
boors here on the canal measure distances by the time it takes 
them to finish a pipe." 

"How ridiculous!" 

[153] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 



"See here, Benjamin Dobbs," retorted Lambert, growing 
unaccountably indignant at Ben's quiet smile; "see here, 
you've a way of calling every other thing you see on this side 
of the German ocean 'ridiculous.' It may suit you this word; 
but it don't suit me. When you want anything ridiculous just 
remember your English custom of making the Lord Mayor 
of London, at his installation, count the nails in a horseshoe 
to prove his learning.' 9 

'Who told you we had any such custom as that?" cried 
Ben, looking grave in an instant. 

' Why I know it, no use of any one telling me. It's in all the 
books and it's true. It strikes me," continued Lambert, 
laughing in spite of himself, "that you have been kept in happy 
ignorance of a good many ridiculous things on your side of 
the map." 

'Humph!" exclaimed Ben, trying not to smile, "I'll in- 
quire into that Lord Mayor business when I get home. There 
must be some mistake. B-r-r-roooo! How fast we're going. 
This is glorious!" 

It was a grand sail, or ride, I scarce know which to call it; 
perhaps 'fly' would be the best word; for the boys felt very 
much as Sinbad did when, tied to the roc's leg, he darted 
through the clouds; or as Bellerophon felt when he shot 
through the air on the back of his winged horse Pegasus. Sail- 
ing, riding, or flying, whichever it was, everything was rushing 
past, backward and, before they had time to draw a long 
breath, Leyden itself, with its high peaked roofs, flew half- 
way to meet them. 

When the city came in sight it was high time to waken the 

[154] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

sleeper. That feat accomplished, Peter's prophecy came to 
pass. Master Jacob was quite restored and in excellent spirits. 

The schipper made a feeble remonstrance when Peter, with 
hearty thanks, endeavored to slip some silver pieces into his 
tough, brown palm. 

'Ye see, young master," said he, drawing away his hand, 
''the regular line o' trade's one thing, and a favor's another." 

: 'I know it," said Peter, "but those boys and girls of yours 
will want sweets when you get home. Buy them some in the 
name of Saint Nicholas." 

The man grinned. "Aye, true enough, I've young 'uns 
in plenty, a clean boat-load of them. You are a sharp young 
master at guessing." 

This time the knotty hand hitched forward again, quite 
carelessly, it seemed, but its palm was upward. Peter hastily 
dropped in the money and moved away. 

The sail soon came tumbling down. Scrape, scrape, went 
the brake, scattering an ice shower round the boat. 

: ' Good-bye, schipper!" shouted the boys, seizing their 
skates and leaping from the deck one by one, "many thanks 
to you!" 

: ' Good-bye ! good-b Hold! here! stop! I want my coat." 

Ben was carefully assisting his cousin over the side of the 
boat. 

'What is the man shouting about? Oh, I know, you have 
his wrapper round your shoulders!" 

"Dat ish true," answered Jacob, half jumping, half -tum- 
bling down upon the framework, "dat ish vot make him sho 
heavy." 

[155] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

'Made you so heavy, you mean, Foot?" 

'Ya, made you so heavy dat ish true," said Jacob inno- 
cently, as he worked himself free from the big wrapper, "dere, 
now you hands it mit him, straits way and tells him I vos 
much tanks for dat." 

"Ho! for an inn!" cried Peter, as they stepped into the 
city. "Be brisk, my fine fellows!" 



[156] 



XXI 

MYNHEER KLEEF AND HIS BILL OF FARE 

THE boys soon found an unpretending establishment 
near the Breedstraat (Broad Street) with a funnily 
painted lion over the door. This was the ROODE LEETTW, 
or Red Lion, kept by one Huygens Kleef, a stout Dutchman 
with short legs and a very long pipe. 

By this time they were in a ravenous condition. The tiffin, 
taken at Haarlem, had served only to give them an appetite, 
and this had been heightened by their exercise and swift sail 
upon the canal. 

"Come, mine host! give us what you can!" cried Peter 
rather pompously. 

"I can give you anything everything," answered Myn- 
heer Kleef, performing a difficult bow. 

"Well, give us sausage and pudding." 

"Ah, mynheer, the sausage is all gone. There is no pud- 
ding." 

"Salmagundi, then, and plenty of it." 

"That is out also, young master." 

"Eggs, and be quick." 

"Winter eggs are very poor eating," answered the inn- 
keeper, puckering his lips and lifting his eyebrows. 

"No eggs? well Caviare." 

The Dutchman raised his fat hands: 

"Caviare! That is made of gold! Who has caviare to 

sell?" 

[157] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

Peter had sometimes eaten it at home; he knew that it 
was made of the roes of the sturgeon and certain other large 
fish, but he had no idea of its cost. 

'Well, mine host, what have you?" 

'What have I? Everything. I have rye-bread, sourkrout, 
potato-salad and the fattest herring in Ley den." 

'What do you say, boys?" asked the captain, "will that 
do?" 

'Yes," cried the famished youths, "if he'll only be quick." 

Mynheer moved off like one walking in his sleep, but soon 
opened his eyes wide at the miraculous manner in which his 
herring were made to disappear. Next came, or rather went, 
potato-salad, rye-bread and coffee then Utrecht water fla- 
vored with orange, and, finally, slices of dry gingerbread. 
This last delicacy was not on the regular bill of fare; but Myn- 
heer Kleef, driven to extremes, solemnly produced it from his 
own private stores, and gave only a placid blink when his 
voracious young travelers started up, declaring they had eaten 
enough. 

"I should think so!" he exclaimed internally, but his 
smooth face gave no sign. 

Softly rubbing his hands, he asked: 

'Will your worships have beds?" 

'Will your worships have beds?" mocked Carl "what do 
you mean? Do we look sleepy?" 

"Not at all, master; but I would cause them to be warmed 
and aired. None sleep under damp sheets at the Red Lion." 

"Ah, I understand. Shall we come back here to sleep, 
Captain?" 

[158] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

Peter was accustomed to finer lodgings; but this was a 
frolic. 

'Why not?" he replied, "we can fare excellently here." 

'Your worship speaks only the truth," said mynheer with 
great deference. 

"How fine to be called 'your worship,'" laughed Ludwig 
aside to Lambert, while Peter replied: 

'Well, mine host, you may get the rooms ready by nine." 

: 'I have one beautiful chamber, with three beds, that will 
hold all of your worships," said Mynheer Kleef coaxingly. 

"That will do." 

'Whew!" whistled Carl when they reached the street. 

Ludwig started. 'What now?" 

''Nothing only Mynheer Kleef of the Red Lion little 
thinks how we shall make things spin in that same room to- 
night We'll set the bolsters flying!" 

"Order!" cried the captain. : 'Now, boys, I must seek 
this great Doctor Boekman before I sleep. If he is in Leyden 
it will be no great task to find him, for he always puts up at 
the Golden Eagle when he comes here. I wonder that you 
did not all go to bed at once Still, as you are awake, what 
say you to walking with Ben up by the Museum or the Stad- 
huis?" 

"Agreed," said Ludwig and Lambert; but Jacob preferred 
to go with Peter. In vain Ben tried to persuade him to remain 
at the Inn and rest. He declared that he never felt "petter," 
and wished of all things to take a look at the city, for it was 
his first "stop mit Leyden." 

"Oh, it will not harm him," said Lambert. "How long 

[159] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

the day has been and what glorious sport we have had. It 
hardly seems possible that we left Broek only this morning." 

Jacob yawned. 

'I have enjoyed it well," he said, "but it seems to me at 
least a week since we started." 

Carl laughed, and muttered something about "twenty 
naps- 

"Here we are at the corner; remember, we all meet at 
the Red Lion at eight," said the captain, as he and Jacob 
walked away. 



[160] 



XXII 
THE RED LION BECOMES DANGEROUS 

THE boys were glad to find a blazing fire awaiting them 
upon their return to the "Red Lion." Carl and his 
party were there first. Soon afterward Peter and Jacob 
came in. They had inquired in vain concerning Dr. Boekman. 
All they could ascertain was that he had been seen in Haarlem 
that morning. 

"As for his being in Ley den," the landlord of the Golden 
Eagle had said to Peter, "the thing is impossible. He always 
lodges here when in town. By this time there would be a 
crowd at my door waiting to consult him Bah! people make 
such fools of themselves!" 

"He is called a great surgeon," said Peter. 

"Yes, the greatest in Holland. But what of that? What 
of being the greatest pill-choker and knife-slasher in the world? 
The man is a bear. Only last month, on this very spot, he called 
me a pig, before three customers!" 

"No!" exclaimed Peter, trying to look surprised and in- 
dignant. 

"Yes, master A PIG," repeated the landlord, puffing at his 
pipe with an injured air. "Bah! if he did not pay fine prices 
and bring customers to my house I would sooner see him in 
the Vleit canal than give him lodgement." 

Perhaps mine host felt that he was speaking too openly to 
a stranger, or it may be he saw a smile lurking in Peter's face, 
for he added sharply: 

[161] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

"Come, now, what more do you wish? Supper? Beds?" 

"No, mynheer, I am but searching for Dr. Boekman." 

"Go find him. He is not in Leyden." 

Peter was not to be put off so easily. After receiving a few 
more rough words, he succeeded in obtaining permission to 
leave a note for the famous surgeon, or rather, he bought from 
his amiable landlord the privilege of writing it there, and a 
promise that it should be promptly delivered when Doctor 
Boekman arrived. This accomplished, Peter and Jacob re- 
turned to the "Red Lion." 

This inn had once been a fine house, the home of a rich 
burgher; but, having grown old and shabby, it had passed 
through many hands, until finally it had fallen into the posses- 
sion of Mynheer Kleef . He was fond of saying as he looked 
up at its dingy, broken walls "mend it, and paint it, and 
there's not a prettier house in Leyden." It stood six stories 
high from the street. The first three were of equal breadth 
but of various heights, the last three were in the great, high 
roof, and grew smaller and smaller like a set of double steps 
until the top one was lost in a point. The roof was built of 
short, shining tiles, and the windows, with their little panes, 
seemed to be scattered irregularly over the face of the build- 
ing, without the slightest attention to outward effect. But 
the public room on the ground floor was the landlord's joy 
and pride. He never said "mend it, and paint it," there, for 
everything was in the highest condition of Dutch neatness and 
order. If you will but open your mind's eye, you may look 
into the apartment. 

Imagine a large, bare room, with a floor that seemed to be 

[162] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

made of squares cut out of glazed earthen pie-dishes, first a 
yellow piece, then a red, until the whole looked like a vast 
checker-board. Fancy a dozen high-backed wooden chairs 
standing around; then a great hollow chimney -place all aglow 
with its blazing fire, reflected a hundred times in the polished 
steel fire-dogs; a tiled hearth, tiled sides, tiled top, with a 
Dutch sentence upon it; and over all, high above one's head, 
a narrow mantel-shelf, filled with shining brass candle-sticks, 
pipe-lighters and tinder-boxes. Then see in one end of the 
room three pine tables; in the other, a closet and a deal 
dresser. The latter is filled with mugs, dishes, pipes, tankards, 
earthen and glass bottles, and is guarded at one end by a brass- 
hooped keg standing upon long legs. Everything dim with 
tobacco smoke, but otherwise clean as soap and sand can make 
it. Next picture two sleepy, shabby-looking men, in wooden 
shoes, seated near the glowing fireplace, hugging their knees 
and smoking short, stumpy pipes; Mynheer Kleef walking 
softly and heavily about, clad in leather knee breeches, felt 
shoes and a green jacket wider than it is long; then throw 
a heap of skates in the corner and put six tired, well-dressed 
boys, in various attitudes, upon the wooden chairs, and you 
will see the coffee-room of the "Red Lion" just as it appeared 
at nine o'clock on the evening of Dec. 6th, 184-. For supper, 
gingerbread again; slices of Dutch sausage; ryebread sprinkled 
with annis-seed; pickles; a bottle of Utrecht water, and a pot 
of very mysterious coffee. The boys were ravenous enough 
to take all they could get, and pronounce it excellent. Ben 
made wry faces, but Jacob declared he had never eaten a better 

meal. After they had laughed and talked awhile, and counted 

[163] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

their money by way of settling a discussion that arose concern- 
ing their expenses, the captain marched his company off to 
bed, led on by a greasy pioneer-boy who carried skates and a 
candlestick instead of an axe. 

One of the ill-favored men by the fire had shuffled towards 
the dresser, and was ordering a mug of beer, just as Ludwig, 
who brought up the rear, was stepping from the apartment. 

'I don't like that fellow's eye," he whispered to Carl, 
"he looks like a pirate, or something of that kind." 

"Looks like a granny!" answered Carl in sleepy disdain. 

Ludwig laughed uneasily. 

"Granny or no granny," he whispered, "I tell you he looks 
just like one of those men in the 'voetspoelen." 

"Pooh!" sneered Carl, "I knew it. That picture was too 
much for you. Look sharp now, and see if yon fellow with the 
candle doesn't look like the other villain." 

"No, indeed, his face is as honest as a Gouda cheese. But, 
I say, Carl, that really was a horrid picture." 

"Humph! Why did you stare at it so long for?" 

"I couldn't help it." 

By this time the boys had reached the ' beautiful room with 
three beds in it.' A dumpy little maiden with long ear-rings 
met them at the doorway, dropt them a courtesy, and passed 
out. She carried a long-handled thing that resembled a frying- 
pan with a cover. 

'I am glad to see that," said van Mounen to Ben. 

"What?" 

' Why, the warming-pan ! It's full of hot ashes, she's been 
heating our beds." 

[164] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

" Oh ! a warming-pan, eh ! Much obliged to her, I'm sure," 
said Ben, too sleepy to make any further comment. 

Meantime, Ludwig still talked of the picture that had made 
such a strong impression upon him. He had seen it in a shop 
window during their walk. It was a poorly painted thing, 
representing two men tied back to back, standing on ship- 
board, surrounded by a group of seamen who were preparing 
to cast them together into the sea. This mode of putting 
prisoners to death was called voetspoelen, or feet- washing, and 
was practised by the Dutch upon the pirates of Dunkirk in 
1605; and, again, by the Spaniards upon the Dutch, in the 
horrible massacre that followed the siege of Haarlem. Bad 
as the painting was, the expression upon the pirates' face was 
well given. Sullen and despairing as they seemed, they wore 
such a cruel, malignant aspect, that Ludwig had felt a secret 
satisfaction in contemplating their helpless condition. He 
might have forgotten the scene by this time but for that ill- 
looking man by the fire. Now, while he capered about, boy- 
like, and threw himself with an antic into his bed, he inwardly 
hoped that the 'voetspoelen' would not haunt his dreams. 

It was a cold, cheerless room, a fire had been newly kindled 
in the burnished stove, and seemed to shiver even while it was 
trying to burn. The windows, with their funny little panes, 
were bare and shiny, and the cold, waxed floor looked like a 
sheet of yellow ice. Three rush-bottomed chairs stood stiffly 
against the wall, alternating with three narrow wooden bed- 
steads that made the room look like the deserted ward of a 
hospital. At any other time the boys would have found it 

quite impossible to sleep in pairs, especially in such narrow 

[165] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

quarters; but to-night they lost all fear of being crowded, and 
longed only to lay their weary bodies upon the feather beds 
that lay lightly upon each cot. Had the boys been in Germany 
instead of Holland they might have been covered, also, by a 
bed of down or feathers. This peculiar form of luxury was at 
that time adopted only by wealthy or eccentric Hollanders. 

Ludwig, as we have seen, had not quite lost his f riskiness; 
but the other boys, after one or two feeble attempts at pillow- 
firing, composed themselves for the night with the greatest 
dignity. Nothing like fatigue for making boys behave them- 
selves. 

"Good-night, boys!" said Peter's voice from under the 
covers. 

"Good-night," called back everybody but Jacob, who 
already lay snoring beside the captain. 

;< I say," shouted Carl, after a moment, "don't sneeze, 
anybody. Ludwig's in a fright!" 

'No such thing," retorted Ludwig in a smothered voice. 
Then there was a little whispered dispute, which was ended 
by Carl saying: 

:< For my part, I don't know what fear is. But you really 
are a timid fellow, Ludwig." 

Ludwig grunted sleepily, but made no further reply. 



It was the middle of the night. The fire had shivered itself 
to death, and, in place of its gleams, little squares of moonlight 
lay upon the floor, slowly, slowly shifting their way across the 
room. Something else was moving also, but they did not see 

it. Sleeping boys keep but a poor look-out. During the early 

[166] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

hours of the night, Jacob Foot had been gradually but surely 
winding himself with all the bed covers. He now lay like a 
monster chrysalis beside the half -frozen Peter, who, accord- 
ingly, was skating with all his might over the coldest, bleakest 
of dreamland icebergs. 

Something else, I say, besides the moonlight, was moving 
across the bare, polished floor moving not quite so slowly, 
but quite as stealthily. 

Wake up, Ludwig! The voetspoelen pirate is growing real! 

No. Ludwig does not waken, but he moans in his sleep. 

Does not Carl hear it Carl the brave, the fearless? 

No. Carl is dreaming of the race. 

And Jacob? Van Mounen? Ben? 

Not they. They, too, are dreaming of the race; and 
Katrinka is singing through their dreams laughing, flitting 
past them; now and then a wave from the great organ surges 
through their midst. 

Still the thing moves, slowly, slowly. 

Peter! Captain Peter, there is danger! 

Peter heard no call; but, in his dream, he slid a few thou- 
sand feet from one iceberg to another, and the shock awoke 
him. 

Whew ! How cold he was ! He gave a hopeless, desperate 
tug at the chrysalis. In vain; sheet, blanket and spread were 
firmly wound about Jacob's inanimate form. Peter looked 
drowsily toward the window. 

"Clear moonlight," he thought, "we shall have pleasant 
weather to-morrow. Hallo! what's that?" 

[167] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

He saw the moving thing, or rather something black 
crouching upon the floor, for it had halted as Peter stirred. 

He watched in silence. 

Soon it moved again, nearer and nearer. It was a man 
crawling upon hands and feet! 

The captain's first impulse was to call out; but he took an 
instant to consider matters. 

The creeper had a shining knife in one hand. This was 
ugly; but Peter was naturally self-possessed. When the head 
turned, Peter's eyes were closed as if in sleep; but at other 
times nothing could be keener, sharper than the captain's gaze. 

Closer, closer crept the robber. His back was very near 
Peter now. The knife was laid softly upon the floor; one 
careful arm reached forth stealthily to drag the clothes 
from the chair by the captain's bed the robbery was com- 
menced. 

Now was Peter's time! Holding his breath, he sprang up 
and leaped with all his strength upon the robber's back, stun- 
ning the rascal with the force of the blow. To seize the knife 
was but a second's work. The robber began to struggle, but 
Peter sat like a giant astride the prostrate form. 

"If you stir," said the brave boy in as terrible a voice as 
he could command, " stir but one inch, I will plunge this knife 
into your neck. Boys! Boys! wake up!" he shouted, still 
pressing down the black head, and holding the knife at prick- 
ing distance, "give us a hand! I've got him! I've got him!" 

The chrysalis rolled over, but made no other sign. 

"Up, boys!" cried Peter, never budging, "Ludwig! Lam- 
bert! Thunder! Are you all dead?" 

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THE SILVER SKATES 

Dead ! not they. Van Mounen and Ben were on their feet 
in an instant. 

"Hey! What now?" they shouted. 

"I've got a robber here," said Peter, coolly. '(Lie still, 
you scoundrel, or I'll slice your head off!) Now, boys, cut out 
your bed cord plenty of time he's a dead man if he stirs." 

Peter felt that he weighed a thousand pounds. So he did, 
with that knife in his hand. The man growled and swore, but 
dared not move. 

Ludw T ig was up by this time. He had a great jack-knife, 
the pride of his heart, in his breeches pocket. It could do good 
service now. They bared the bedstead in a moment. It was 
laced backward and forward with a rope. 

"I'll cut it," cried Ludwig, sawing away at the knot, 
"hold him tight, Pete!" 

"Never fear!" answered the captain, giving the robber a 
warning prick. 

The boys were soon pulling at the rope like good fellows. 
It was out at last a long, stout piece. 

"Now, boys," commanded the captain, "lift up his ras- 
cally arms! Cross his hands over his back! That's right 
excuse me for being in the way tie them tight!" 

'Yes, and his feet too, the villain!" cried the boys in great 
excitement, tying knot after knot with Herculean jerks. 

The prisoner changed his tone. 

"Oh oh!" he moaned, "spare a poor sick man I was but 
walking in my sleep." 

"Ugh!" grunted Lambert, still tugging away at the rope, 

"asleep, were you? well, we'll wake you up." 

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HANS BRINKER; OR, 

The man muttered fierce oaths between his teeth then 
cried in a piteous voice, 'Unbind me, good young masters! 
I have five little children at home. By Saint Bavon I swear 
to give you each a ten-guilder piece if you will but free me!" 

"Ha! ha!" laughed Peter. 

'Ha! ha!" laughed the other boys. 

Then came threats threats that made Ludwig fairly shud- 
der, though he continued to bind and tie with redoubled energy. 

'Hold up! mynheer house-breaker," said van Mounen in 
a warning voice. 'That knife is very near your throat. If 
you make the captain nervous, there is no telling what may 
happen." 

The robber took the hint, and fell into a sullen silence. 

Just at this moment the chrysalis upon the bed stirred 
and sat erect. 

'What's the matter?" he asked, without opening his eyes. 

''Matter!" echoed Ludwig, half trembling, half laughing, 
"get up, Jacob. Here's work for you. Come sit on this fel- 
low's back while we get into our clothes; we're half perished." 

"What fellow? Bonder!" 

"Hurrah for Poot!" cried all the boys, as Jacob, sliding 
quickly to the floor, bedclothes and all, took in the state of 
affairs at a glance, and sat heavily beside Peter on the robber's 
back. 

Oh, didn't the fellow groan, then! 

'No use in holding him down any longer, boys," said 
Peter, rising, but bending as he did so to draw a pistol from 
his man's belt. "You see I've been keeping guard over this 
pretty little weapon for the last ten minutes. It's cocked and 

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THE SILVER SKATES 

the least wriggle might have set it off. No danger now. I 
must dress myself. You and I, Lambert, will go for the police. 
I'd no idea it was so cold." 

"Where is Carl?" asked one of the boys. 

They looked at one another. Carl certainly was not among 
them. 

"Oh!" cried Ludwig, frightened at last, "where is he? 
Perhaps he's had a fight with the robber, and got killed." 

"Not a bit of it," said Peter quietly, as he buttoned his 
stout jacket. "Look under the beds." 

They did so. Carl was not there. 

Just then they heard a commotion on the stairway. Ben 
hastened to open the door. The landlord almost tumbled in; 
he was armed with a big blunderbuss. Two or three lodgers 
followed; then the daughter, with an upraised frying-pan in 
one hand and a candle in the other; and, behind her, looking 
pale and frightened, the gallant Carl! 

"There's your man, mine host," said Peter, nodding to- 
ward the prisoner. 

Mine host raised his blunderbuss, the girl screamed, and 
Jacob, more nimble than usual, rolled quickly from the rob- 
ber's back. 

"Don't fire," cried Peter, "he is tied, hand and foot. Let's 
roll him over, and see what he looks like." 

Carl stepped briskly forward, with a blustering 'Yes. 
We'll turn him over, in a way he won't like. Lucky we've 
caught him!" 

"Ha! ha!" laughed Ludwig, "where were you, Master 
Carl?" 

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HANS DRINKER; OR, 

'Where was I?" retorted Carl, angrily, "why, I went to 
give the alarm, to be sure!" 

All the boys exchanged glances; but they were too happy 
and elated to say anything ill-natured. Carl certainly was 
bold enough now. He took the lead while three others aided 
him in turning the helpless man. 

While the robber lay, face up, scowling and muttering, 
Ludwig took the candlestick from the girl's hand. 

"I must have a good look at the beauty," he said, drawing 
closer, but the words were no sooner spoken than he turned 
pale and started so violently that he almost dropped the candle. 

"THE VOETSPOELEN!" he cried, "why, boys, it's the man 
who sat by the fire!" 

"Of course it is," answered Peter, "we counted our money 
before him like simpletons. But what have we to do with 
voetspoelen, brother Ludwig? A month in jail is punishment 
enough." 

The landlord's daughter had left the room. She now ran 
in, holding up a pair of huge wooden shoes. "See, father," 
she cried, "here are his great ugly boots. It's the man that 
we put in the next room after the young masters went to bed. 
Ah! it was wrong to send the poor young gentlemen up here 
so far out of sight and sound." 

'The scoundrel!" hissed the landlord, "he has disgraced 
my house. I go for the police at once!" 

In less than fifteen minutes two drowsy looking officers 
were in the room. After telling Mynheer Kleef that he must 
appear early in the morning with the boys and make his com- 
plaint before a magistrate, they marched off with their prisoner. 



THE SILVER SKATES 

One would think the captain and his band could have slept 
no more that night; but the mooring has not yet been found 
that can prevent youth and an easy conscience from drifting 
down the river of dreams. The boys were too much fatigued 
to let so slight a thing as capturing a robber bind them to 
wakefulness. They were soon in bed again, floating away to 
strange scenes made of familiar things. Ludwig and Carl had 
spread their bedding upon the floor. One had already for- 
gotten the voetspoelen, the race everything; but Carl was 
wide awake. He heard the carillons ringing out their solemn 
nightly music, and the watchman's noisy clapper putting in 
discord at the quarter-hours; he saw the moonshine glide 
away from the window, and the red morning light come pour- 
ing in, and all the while he kept thinking: 

"Pooh! what a goose I have made of myself!" 
Carl Schummel, alone, with none to look or to listen, was 
not quite so grand a fellow as Carl Schummel strutting about 
in his boots. 



[173] 



xxni 

BEFORE THE COURT 

YOU may believe the landlord's daughter bestirred her- 
self to prepare a good meal for the boys next morning. 
Mynheer had a Chinese gong that could make more 
noise than a dozen of breakfast bells. Its hideous reveille, 
clanging through the house, generally startled the drowsiest 
lodgers into activity, but the maiden would not allow it to be 
sounded this morning. 

"Let the brave young gentlemen sleep," she said, to the 
greasy kitchen boy, : *they shall be warmly fed when they 
awaken." 

It was ten o'clock when Captain Peter and his band came 
straggling down one by one. 

"A pretty hour," said mine host, gruffly. "It is high time 
we were before the court. Fine business this for a respectable 
inn. You will testify truly, young masters, that you found 
most excellent fare and lodgement at the Red Lion? v 

"Of course we will," answered Carl, saucily, "and pleasant 
company, too, though they visit at rather unseasonable hours." 

A stare and a "humph!" was all the answer Mynheer made 
to this, but the daughter was more communicative. Shaking 
her ear-rings at Carl she said sharply: 

"Not so very pleasant either, master traveler, if one could 
judge by the way you ran away from it!" 

"Impertinent creature!" hissed Carl under his breath, as 
he began busily to examine his skate-straps. Meantime the 

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HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

kitchen-boy, listening outside at the crack of the door, doubled 
himself with silent laughter. 

After breakfast the boys went to the Police Court, accom- 
panied by Huygens Kleef and his daughter. Mynheer's testi- 
mony was principally to the effect that such a thing as a rob- 
ber at the "Red Lion" had been unheard of until last night; 
and as for the "Red Lion," it was a most respectable inn as 
respectable as any house in Leyden. Each boy, in turn, told 
all he knew of the affair, and identified the prisoner in the box 
as the same man who entered their room in the dead of night. 
Ludwig was surprised to find that the robber was a man of 
ordinary size especially after he had described him, under 
oath, to the Court as a tremendous fellow, with great square 
shoulders and legs of prodigious weight. Jacob swore that he 
was awakened by the robber kicking and thrashing upon the 
floor; and, immediately afterward, Peter and the rest (feeling 
sorry that they had not explained the matter to their sleepy 
comrade) testified that the man had not moved a muscle from 
the moment the point of the dagger touched his throat until, 
bound from head to foot, he was rolled over for inspection. 
The landlord's daughter made one boy blush, and all the court 
smile, by declaring that, "if it hadn't been for that handsome 
young gentleman there " (pointing to Peter) they "might have 
all been murdered in their beds; for the dreadful man had a 
great, shining knife most as long as your honor's arm," and 
she believed "the handsome young gentleman had struggled 
hard enough to get it away from him, but he was too modest, 
bless him! to say so." 

Finally, after a little questioning and cross-questioning 

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HANS BRINKER; OR, 

from the public Prosecutor the witnesses were dismissed, and 
the robber was handed over to the consideration of the Crimi- 
nal Court. 

"The scoundrel!" said Carl, savagely, when the boys 
reached the street. " He ought to be sent to jail at once. If 
I had been in your place, Peter, I certainly should have killed 
him outright!" 

"He was fortunate, then, in falling into gentler hands," 
was Peter's quiet reply; 'it appears he has been arrested 
before under a charge of house-breaking. He did not succeed 
in robbing this time, but he broke the door-fastenings, and that, 
I believe, makes a burglary in the eye of the law. He was armed 
with a knife, too, and that makes it worse for him, poor 
fellow!" 

"Poor fellow!" mimicked Carl, "one would think he was 
your brother!" 

"So he is my brother, and yours, too, Carl Schummel, 
for that matter," answered Peter, looking into Carl's eye. 
"We cannot say what we might have become under other cir- 
cumstances. We have been bolstered up from evil since the 
hour we were born. A happy home and good parents might 
have made that man a fine fellow instead of what he is. God 
grant that the law may cure and not crush him!" 

"Amen to that!" said Lambert, heartily, while Ludwig 
van Holp looked at his brother in such a bright, proud way 
that Jacob Poot, who was an only son, wished from his heart 
that the little form buried in the old church at home had lived 
to grow up beside him. 

"Humph!" said Carl, "It's very well to be saintly and for- 

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THE SILVER SKATES 

giving, and all that sort of thing, but I'm naturally hard. 
All these fine ideas seem to rattle off of me like hail-stones 
and it's nobody's business, either, if they do." 

Peter recognized a touch of good feeling in this clumsy 
concession; holding out his hand, he said in a frank, hearty 
tone, 

"Come, lad, shake hands, and let us be good friends even 
if we don't exactly agree on all questions." 

'We do agree better than you think," sulked Carl, as he 
returned Peter's grasp. 

"All right," responded Peter briskly, "now Van Mounen, 
we await Benjamin's wishes. Where would he like to go?" 

'To the Egyptian Museum," answered Lambert, after 
holding a brief consultation with Ben. 

"That is on the Breede Straat. To the Museum let it be. 
Come, boys!" 



[1771 



XXIV 
THE BELEAGUERED CITIES 

r ^iHIS open square before us," said Lambert, as he and 
Ben walked on together, "is pretty in summer, with 

-* its shady trees. They call it the Ruine. Years ago 
it was covered with houses, and the Rapenburg canal, here, ran 
through the street. Well, one day a barge loaded with forty 
thousand pounds of gunpowder, bound for Delft, was lying 
alongside, and the bargemen took a notion to cook their dinner 
on the deck; and before anyone knew it, sir, the whole thing 
blew up, killing lots of persons and scattering about three 
hundred houses to the winds." 

'What!" exclaimed Ben, "did the explosion destroy three 
hundred houses ? " 

'Yes, sir, my father was in Leyden at the time. He says 
it was terrible. The explosion occurred just at noon, and was 
like a volcano. All this part of the town was on fire in an in- 
stant, buildings tumbling down, and men, women and children 
groaning under the ruins the King himself came to the city 
and acted nobly, father says, staying out in the streets all 
night, encouraging the survivors in their efforts to arrest the 
fire, and rescue as many as possible from under the heaps of 
stone and rubbish. Through his means a collection for the 
benefit of the sufferers was raised throughout the kingdom, 
besides a hundred thousand guilders paid out of the treasury. 

Father was only nineteen years old then; it was in 1807, I 

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HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

believe, but he remembers it perfectly. A friend of his, Pro- 
fessor Luzac, was among the killed. They have a tablet 
erected to his memory, in Saint Peter's Church, further on 
the queerest thing you ever saw with an image of the pro- 
fessor carved upon it representing him just as he looked when 
he was found after the explosion." 

"What a strange idea! Isn't Boerhaave's monument in 
Saint Peter's also?' : 

"I cannot remember. Perhaps Peter knows." 

The captain delighted Ben by saying that the monument 
was there and that he thought they might be able to see it 
during the day. 

"Lambert," continued Peter, "ask Ben if he saw Van der 
Werf's portrait at the Town Hall last night. ' 

"No," said Lambert, "I can answer for him. It was too 
late to go in. I say, boys, it is really wonderful how much 
Ben knows. Why, he has told me a volume of Dutch history 
already. I'll wager he has the siege of Leyden at his tongue's 
end." 

"His tongue must burn then," interposed Ludwig, : 'for 
if Bilderdyk's account is true it was a pretty hot affair." 

Ben was looking at them with an inquiring smile. 

"We are speaking of the siege of Leyden," explained 
Lambert. 

"Oh, yes," said Ben, eagerly, "I had forgotten all about it. 
This was the very place Let's give old Van der Werf three 
cheers Hur ' ' 

Van Mounen uttered a hasty "hush!" and explained that, 

patriotic as the Dutch were, the police would soon have some- 

[179] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

thing to say if a party of boys cheered in the street at mid- 
day. 

"What! not cheer Van der Werf?" cried Ben, indignantly. 
"One of the greatest chaps in history? Only think! Didn't 
he hold out against those murderous Spaniards for months and 
months? There was the town, surrounded on all sides by the 
enemy; great black forts sending fire and death into the very 
heart of the city but no surrender! Every man a hero- 
women, and children, too, brave and fierce as lions provisions 
giving out, the very grass from between the paving stones 
gone till people were glad to eat horses and cats and dogs and 
rats. Then came the Plague hundreds dying in the streets 
-but no surrender! Then when they could bear no more 
when the people, brave as they were, crowded about Van der 
Werf in the public square begging him to give up; what did 
the noble old burgomaster say ? ' I have sworn to defend this 
city, and with God's help, I mean to do it! If my body can 
satisfy your hunger, take it, and divide it among you but 
expect no surrender so long as I am alive ' Hurrah ! hur 

Ben was getting uproarious; Lambert playfully clapped 
his hand over his friend's mouth. The result was one of those 
quick india-rubber scuffles fearful to behold, but delightful 
to human nature in its polliwog state. 

" Vat wash te metter, Pen? " asked Jacob, hurrying forward. 

"Oh! nothing at all," panted Ben, "except that van 
Mounen was afraid of starting an English riot in this orderly 
town. He stopped my cheering for old Van der 

'Ya! ya it ish no goot to sheer to make te noise for 
dat You vill shee old Van der Does' likeness mit te Stadhuis." 

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THE SILVER SKATES 



"See old Van der Does? I thought it was Van der Werf's 

picture they had there " 

'Ya," responded Jacob, "Van der Werf veil, vot of it? 
both ish just ash goot " 

'Yes, Van der Does was a noble old Dutchman, but he 
was not Van der Werf. I know he defended the city like a 
brick, and 

"Now vot for you shay dat, Penchamin? He no defend te 
citty mit breek, he fight like goot soltyer mit his guns. You 
like make te fun mit effrysinks Tutch." 

"No! no! no! I said he defended the city like a brick. 
That is very high praise, I would have you understand. We 
English call even the Duke of Wellington a brick." 

Jacob looked puzzled; but his indignation was already on 
the ebb. 

'Veil, it ish no matter. I no tink, before, soltyer mean 
breek, but it ish no matter." 

Ben laughed good-naturedly, and seeing that his cousin 
was tired of talking in English, he turned to his friend of the 
two languages 

'Van Mounen! they say the very carrier-pigeons that 
brought news of relief to the besieged city are somewhere here 
in Ley den. I really should like to see them. Just think of it! 
At the very height of the trouble if the wind didn't turn and 
blow in the waters, and drown hundreds of the Spaniards, and 
enable the Dutch boats to sail in right over the land with men 
and provisions to the very gates of the city. The pigeons, 
you know, did great service, in bearing letters to and fro. 

I have read somewhere that they were reverently cared for 

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HANS BRINKER; OR, 

from that day, and, when they died, they were stuffed and 
placed for safe keeping in the Town Hall. We must be sure 
to have a look at them." 

Van Mounen laughed. "On that principle, Ben, I suppose 
when you go to Rome you'll expect to see the identical goose 
who saved the Capitol. But it will be easy enough to see the 
pigeons. They are in the same building with Van der Werf's 
portrait. Which was the greatest defence, Ben, the siege of 
Ley den or the siege of Haarlem?' 1 

"Well," replied Ben, thoughtfully; 'Van der Werf is one 
of my heroes; we all have our historical pets, you know, but 
I really think the siege of Haarlem brought out a braver, 
more heroic resistance even than the Ley den one; besides, 
they set the Leyden sufferers an example of courage and forti- 
tude, for their turn came first." 

"I don't know much about the Haarlem siege," said Lam- 
bert, "except that it was in 1573. Who beat?' : 

"The Spaniards," said Ben. 'The Dutch had stood out 
for months. Not a man would yield nor a woman either for 
that matter. They shouldered arms and fought gallantly be- 
side their husbands and fathers. Three hundred of them did 
duty under Kanau Hesselaer, a great woman, and brave as 
Joan of Arc. All this time the city was surrounded by the 
Spaniards under Frederic of Toledo, son of that beauty, the 
Duke of Alva. Cut off from all possible help from without, 
there seemed to be no hope for the inhabitants, but they 
shouted defiance over the city walls. They even threw bread 
into the enemy's camps to show that they were not afraid of 
starvation. Up to the last they held out bravely, waiting for 

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THE SILVER SKATES 

the help that never could come growing bolder and bolder 
until their provisions were exhausted. Then it was terrible. 
In times hundreds of famished creatures fell dead in the streets, 
and the living had scarcely strength to bury them. At last 
they made the desperate resolution that, rather than perish 
by lingering torture, the strongest would form in a square, 
placing the weakest in the centre, and rush in a body to their 
death, with the faint chance of being able to fight their way 
through the enemy. The Spaniards received a hint of this, 
and believing there was nothing the Dutch would not dare 
to do, they concluded to offer terms." 

"High time, I should think." 

"Yes, with falsehood and treachery they soon obtained 
an entrance into the city, promising protection and forgive- 
ness to all except those whom the citizens themselves would 
acknowledge as deserving of death." 

'You don't say so!" said Lambert, quite interested, "that 
ended the business I suppose." 

"Not a bit of it," returned Ben, "for the Duke of Alva had 
already given his son orders to show mercy to none." 

"Ah! there was where the great Haarlem massacre came in. 
I remember now. You can't wonder that the Hollanders dis- 
like Spain when you read of the way they were butchered by 
Alva and his hosts, though I admit that our side sometimes 
retaliated terribly. But as I have told you before, I have a 
very indistinct idea of historical matters. Everything is utter 
confusion from the Flood to the battle of Waterloo. One 
thing is plain, however, the Duke of Alva was about the worst 

specimen of a man that ever lived." 

f 1831 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

"That gives only a faint idea of him," said Ben, " but I hate 
to think of such a wretch. What if he had brains, and military 
skill, and all that sort of thing! Give me such men as Van der 
Werf, and what now?' : 

'Why," said van Mounen, who was looking up and down 
the street, in a bewildered way, "We've walked right past 
the museum, and I don't see the boys. Let us go back." 



[184] 



XXV 
LEYDEN 

THE boys met at the Museum, and were soon engaged 
in examining its extensive collection of curiosities, re- 
ceiving a new insight into Egyptian life, ancient and 
modern. Ben and Lambert had often visited the British 
Museum, but that did not prevent them from being surprised 
at the richness of the Leyden collection. There were house- 
hold utensils, wearing apparel, weapons, musical instruments, 
sarcophagi, and mummies of men, women, and cats, ibexes and 
other creatures. They saw a massive gold armlet that had 
been worn by an Egyptian King at a time when some of these 
same mummies, perhaps, were nimbly treading the streets of 
Thebes; and jewels and trinkets such as Pharaoh's daughter 
wore, and the children of Israel borrowed when they departed 
out of Egypt. 

There were other interesting relics, from Rome and Greece, 
and some curious Roman pottery which had been discovered 
in digging near the Hague relics of the days when the coun- 
trymen of Julius Caesar had settled there. Where have they 
not settled? I, for one, would hardly be astonished if relics of 
the ancient Romans should some day be found deep under the 
grass growing round the Bunker-hill monument. 

When the boys left this Museum, they went to another and 
saw a wonderful collection of fossil animals, skeletons, birds, 
minerals, precious stones and other natural specimens, but as 

they were not learned men, they could only walk about and 

[185] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

stare, enjoy the little knowledge of natural history they pos- 
sessed, and wish with all their hearts they had acquired more. 
Even the skeleton of the mouse puzzled Jacob. What wonder? 
He was not used to seeing the cat-fearing little creatures run- 
ning about in their bones and how could he ever have im- 
agined their necks to be so queer? 

Besides the Museum of Natural History, there was Saint 
Peter's Church to be visited, containing Professor Luzac's 
Memorial, and Boerhaave's Monument of white and black 
marble, w r ith its urn and carved symbols of the four ages of 
life, and its medallion of Boerhaave, adorned with his favorite 
motto, "Simplex sigillum veri." They also obtained admit- 
tance to a tea-garden, which in summer was a favorite resort 
of the citizens, and passing naked oaks and fruit-trees, ascended 
a high mound which stood in the centre. This was the site of 
a round tower now in ruins, said by some to have been built by 
Hengist, the Anglo-Saxon king, and by others to have been 
the castle of one of the ancient counts of Holland. 

As the boys walked about on the top of its stone wall, they 
could get but a poor view of the surrounding city. The tower 
stood higher when, more than two centuries ago, the inhabi- 
tants of beleaguered Ley den shouted to the watcher on its top 
their wild, despairing cries- ' Is there any help? Are the waters 
rising? What do you see?' 

And for months he could only answer -* No help. I see 
around us nothing but the enemy.' 

Ben pushed these thoughts away, and resolutely looking 
down into the bare tea-garden, filled it in imagination with gay 

summer groups. He tried to forget old battle-clouds, and pic- 

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THE SILVER SKATES 

ture only curling wreaths of tobacco-smoke, rising from among 
men, women and children enjoying their tea and coffee in the 
open air. But a tragedy came in spite of him. 

Foot was bending over the edge of the high wall. It would 
be just like him to grow dizzy and tumble off. Ben turned 
impatiently away. If the fellow with his weak head knew no 
better than to be venturesome, why, let him tumble. Horror ! 
what meant that heavy, crashing sound ? 

Ben could not stir. He could only gasp, 

"Jacob!" 

"Jacob ! " cried another startled voice and another. Ready 
to faint, Ben managed to turn his head. He saw a crowd of 
boys on the edge of the wall opposite but Jacob was not 
there ! 

"Good Heaven!" he cried, springing forward, "where is 
my cousin?' 1 

The crowd parted. It was only four boys, after all. There 
sat Jacob in their midst, holding his sides and laughing 
heartily. 

"Did I frighten you all?'" he said in his native Dutch, 
"well I will tell you how it was. There was a big stone lying 
on the wall and I put my my foot out just to push it a little, 
you see and the first thing I knew, down went the stone all 
the way to the bottom, and left me sitting here on top with 
both my feet in the air. If I had not thrown myself back at 
that moment, I certainly should have rolled over after the 
stone. Well, it is no matter. Help me up, boys." 

"You are hurt, Jacob!" said Ben, seeing a shade of serious- 
ness pass over his cousin's face as they lifted him to his feet. 

[187] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

Jacob tried to laugh again. " Oh, no I feels little hurt ven 
I stant up, but it ish no matter." 

The monument to Van der Werf in the Hooglandsche Kerk 
was not accessible that day; but the boys spent a few pleasant 
moments in the Stadhuis or Town Hall, a long, irregular struc- 
ture somewhat in the Gothic style, uncouth in architecture, 
but picturesque from age. Its little steeple, tuneful with bells, 
seemed to have been borrowed from some other building and 
hastily clapped on as a finishing touch. 

Ascending the grand staircase the boys soon found them- 
selves in rather a gloomy apartment, containing the master- 
piece of Lucas van Leyden, or Hugens, a Dutch artist, born 
three hundred and seventy years ago, who painted well when 
he was ten years of age and became distinguished in art when 
only fifteen. This picture, called the Last Judgment, consid- 
ering the remote age in which it was painted, is truly a remark- 
able production. The boys, however, were less interested in 
tracing out the merits of the work than they were in the fact 
of its being a triptych that is, painted on three divisions, 
the two outer ones swung on hinges so as to close, when re- 
quired, over the main portion. 

The historical pictures by Harel de Moor and other famous 
Dutch artists interested them for awhile, and Ben had to be 
almost pulled away from the dingy old portrait of Van der 
Werf. 

The Town Hall, as well as the Egyptian Museum, is on 
the Breed Straat, the longest and finest street in Leyden. It 
has no canal running through it, and the houses, painted in 

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THE SILVER SKATES 

every variety of color, have a picturesque effect as they stand 
with their gable ends to the street; some are very tall, with 
half of their height in their step-like roofs; others crouch be- 
fore the public edifices and churches. Being clean, spacious, 
well-shaded and adorned with many elegant mansions, it com- 
pares favorably with the finer portions of Amsterdam. It is 
kept scrupulously neat; many of the gutters are covered with 
boards that open like trap-doors; and it is supplied with 
pumps surmounted with shining brass ornaments kept scoured 
and bright at the public cost. The city is intersected by nu- 
merous water-roads formed by the river Rhine, there grown 
sluggish, fatigued by its long travel; but more than one hun- 
dred and fifty stone bridges re-unite the dissevered streets. 
The same world-renowned river, degraded from the beautiful, 
free-flowing Rhine, serves as a moat around the rampart that 
surrounds Leyden, and is crossed by drawbridges at the im- 
posing gateways that give access to the city. Fine broad prome- 
nades, shaded by noble trees, border the canals, and add to the 
retired appearance of the houses behind, heightening the effect 
of scholastic seclusion that seems to pervade the place. 

Ben as he scanned the buildings on the Rapenburg canal 
was somewhat disappointed in the appearance of the great 
University of Leyden. But when he recalled its history how, 
attended with all the pomp of a grand civic display, it had 
been founded by the Prince of Orange as a tribute to the citi- 
zens for the bravery displayed during the siege; when he 
remembered the great men in religion, learning and science 
who had once studied there, and thought of the hundreds of 

students now sharing the benefits of its classes and its valuable 

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HANS BRINKER; OR, 

scientific museums he was quite willing to forego architec- 
tural beauty, though he could not help feeling that no amount 
of it could have been misplaced on such an institution. 

Peter and Jacob regarded the building with even a deeper, 
more practical interest, for they were to enter it as students 
in the course of a few months. 

: 'Poor Don Quixote would have run a hopeless tilt in this 
part of the world," said Ben, after Lambert had been pointing 
out some of the oddities and beauties of the suburbs "it is 
all windmills. You remember his terrific contest with one, 
I suppose?' 

'No," said Lambert, bluntly. 

'Well, I don't either, that is, not definitely. But there 
was something of that kind in his adventures, and if there 
wasn't, there should have been Look at them, how frantic- 
ally they whirl then- great arms just the thing to excite the 
crazy knight to mortal combat. It bewilders one to look at 
them; help me to count all those we can see, van Mounen. 
I want a big item for my notebook" and after a careful 
reckoning, superintended by all the party, Master Ben wrote 
in pencil, "Saw, Dec. , 184-, ninety-eight windmills within 
full view of Ley den." 

He would have been glad to visit the old brick mill in 
which the painter Rembrandt was born; but he abandoned the 
project upon learning that it would take them out of their 
way. Few boys as hungry as Ben was by this time would hesi- 
tate long between Rembrandt's home a mile off, and tiffin 
close by. Ben chose the latter. 

After tiffin they rested awhile, and then took another, 

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THE SILVER SKATES 

which, for form sake, they called dinner. After dinner the boys 
sat warming themselves at the inn; all but Peter, who oc- 
cupied the time in another fruitless search for Dr. Boekman. 
This over, the party once more prepared for skating. 
They were thirteen miles from the Hague and not as fresh 
as when they had left Broek early on the previous day; but 
they were in good spirits and the ice was excellent. 



[191] 



XXVI 
THE PALACE IN THE WOOD 

A the boys skated onward, they saw a number of fine 
country seats, all decorated and surrounded according 
to the Dutchest of Dutch taste, but impressive to 
look upon, with their great, formal houses, elaborate gardens, 
square hedges, and wide ditches some crossed by a bridge, 
having a gate in the middle to be carefully locked at night. 
These ditches, everywhere traversing the landscape, had long 
ago lost their summer film, and now shone under the sunlight, 
like trailing ribbons of glass. 

The boys traveled bravely, all the while performing the 
surprising feat of producing gingerbread from their pockets 
and causing it to vanish instantly. 

Twelve miles were passed. A few more long strokes would 
take them to the Hague, when van Mounen proposed that they 
should vary their course by walking into the city through 
The Bosch. 

"Agreed!" cried one and all and their skates were off in 
a twinkling. 

The Bosch is a grand park or wood, nearly two miles long, 
containing the celebrated House in the Wood Huis in't 
Bosch sometimes used as a royal residence. 

This building, though plain outside for a palace, is ele- 
gantly furnished within, and finely frescoed that is, the walls 
and ceiling are covered with groups and designs painted di- 
rectly upon them while the plaster was fresh. Some of the 

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HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

rooms are tapestried with Chinese silk, beautifully embroi- 
dered. One contains a number of family portraits, among 
them a group of royal children who in time were orphaned by 
a certain axe which figures very frequently in European his- 
tory. These children were painted many times by the Dutch 
artist Van Dyck, who was court-painter to their father, Charles 
the First of England. Beautiful children they were what a 
deal of trouble the English nation would have been spared had 
they been as perfect in heart and soul as they were in form ! 

The park surrounding the palace is charming, especially 
in summer, for flowers and birds make it bright as fairyland. 
Long rows of magnificent oaks rear their proud heads, con- 
scious that no profaning hand will ever bring them low. In 
fact the Wood has for ages been held as an almost sacred spot. 
Children are never allowed to meddle with its smallest twig; 
the axe of the Woodman has never resounded there. Even 
war and riot have passed it reverently, pausing for a moment 
in their devastating way. Philip of Spain, while he ordered 
Dutchmen to be mowed down by hundreds, issued a mandate 
that not a bough of the beautiful Wood should be touched 
and once, when in a time of great necessity the State was about 
to sacrifice it to assist in filling a nearly exhausted treasury, 
the people rushed to the rescue, and nobly contributed the 
required amount rather than that the Bosch should fall. 

What wonder then that the oaks have a grand, fearless 
air? Birds from all Holland have told them how, elsewhere, 
trees are cropped and bobbed into shape but they are un- 
touched. Year after year they expand in undipped luxuri- 
ance and beauty ; their wide-spreading foliage, alive with song, 

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HANS BlUNKER; OR THE SILVER SKATES 

casts a cool shade over lawn and pathway, or bows to its 
image in the sunny ponds. 

Meanwhile, as if to reward the citizens for allowing her to 
have her way for once, Nature departs from the invariable level, 
wearing gracefully the ornaments that have been reverently 
bestowed upon her So the lawn slopes in a velvety green; the 
paths wind in and out; flower-beds glow and send forth perfume; 
and ponds and sky look at each other in mutual admiration. 

Even on that winter day the Bosch was beautiful. Its 
trees were bare, but beneath them still lay the ponds, every 
ripple smoothed into glass. The blue sky was bright overhead, 
and as it looked down through the thicket of boughs it saw 
another blue sky, not nearly so bright, looking up from the 
dim thicket under the ice. 

Never had the sunset appeared more beautiful to Peter 
than when he saw it exchanging farewell glances with the 
windows and shining roofs of the city before him. Never had 
the Hague itself seemed more inviting. He was no longer 
Peter Van Holp, going to visit a great city, nor a fine young 
gentleman bent on sight-seeing; he was a knight, an adven- 
turer, travel-soiled and weary, a Hop-o'-my-Thumb grown 
large, a Fortunatus approaching the enchanted castle where 
luxury and ease awaited him for his own sister's house was 
not half a mile away. 

"At last, boys," he cried, in high glee, "we may hope for 
a royal resting-place good beds, warm rooms, and something 
fit to eat. I never realized before what a luxury such things 
are. Our lodgings at the Red Lion have made us appreciate 
our own homes." 

[194] 



XXVII 

THE MERCHANT PRINCE AND THE 
SISTER-PRINCESS 

"IT T "TELL might Peter feel that his sister's house was 
%/ %/ like an enchanted castle. Large and elegant as it 
was, a spell of quiet hung over it. The very lion 
crouching at its gate seemed to have been turned into stone 
through magic. Within, it was guarded by Genii, in the shape 
of red -faced servants, who sprang silently forth at the summons 
of bell or knocker. There was a cat, also, who appeared as 
knowing as any Puss-in-Boots; and a brass gnome in the hall 
whose business it was to stand with outstretched arms ready 
to receive sticks and umbrellas. Safe within the walls bloomed 
a Garden of Delight, where the flowers firmly believed it was 
summer, and a sparkling fountain was laughing merrily to it- 
self because Jack Frost could not find it. There was a Sleep- 
ing Beauty, too, just at the time of the boys' arrival; but 
when Peter, like a true prince, flew lightly up the stairs and 
kissed her eyelids, the enchantment was broken. The prin- 
cess became his own good sister, and the fairy castle just one 
of the finest, most comfortable houses of the Hague. 

As may well be believed, the boys received the heartiest 
of welcomes. After they had conversed awhile with their 
lively hostess, one of the genii summoned them to a grand 
repast in a red-curtained room, where floor and ceiling shone 
like polished ivory, and the mirrors suddenly blossomed into 

rosy -cheeked boys as far as the eye could reach. 

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HANS BRINKER; OR, 

They had caviare now, and salmagundi, and sausage and 
cheese, besides salad and fruit and biscuit and cake. How the 
boys could partake of such a medley was a mystery to Ben; 
for the salad was sour, and the cake was sweet; the fruit was 
dainty, and the salmagundi heavy with onions and fish. But, 
while he was wondering, he made a hearty meal, and was soon 
absorbed in deciding which he really preferred, the coffee or 
the anisette cordial. It was delightful, too this taking one's 
food from dishes of frosted silver and liqueur glasses from 
which Titania herself might have sipped. The young gentle- 
man afterward wrote to his mother that pretty and choice as 
things were at home, he had never known what cut glass, 
china and silver services were until he visited the Hague. 

Of course Peter's sister soon heard of all the boys' ad ventures. 
How they had skated over forty miles and seen rare sights 
on the way; how they had lost their purse and found it again. 
How one of the party had fallen and given them an excuse for 
a- grand sail in an ice-boat; how, above all, they had caught a 
robber, and so for a second time saved their slippery purse. 

"And now, Peter," said the lady, when the story was fin- 
ished, "you must write at once to tell the good people of Broek 
that your adventures have reached their height, that you and 
your fellow-travelers have all been taken prisoners." 

The boys looked startled. 

"Indeed, I shall do no such thing," laughed Peter, '"we 
must leave to-morrow at noon." 

But the sister had already decided differently, and a Hol- 
land lady is not to be easily turned from her purpose. In 

short, she held forth such strong temptations, and was so 

[196] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

bright and cheerful, and said so many coaxing and unanswer- 
able things, both in English and Dutch, that the boys were all 
delighted when it was settled that they should remain at the 
Hague for at least two days. 

Next the grand skating-race was talked over; Mevrouw 
van Gend gladly promised to be present on the occasion 
"I shall witness your triumph, Peter," she said, "for you are 
the fastest skater I ever knew." 

Peter blushed and gave a slight cough, as Carl answered 
for him: 

"Ah, mevrouw, he is swift, but all the Broek boys are fine 
skaters even the rag-pickers" and he thought bitterly of 
poor Hans. 

The lady laughed. 'That will make the race all the more 
exciting," she said "but I shall wish each of you to be the 



winner.' 



At this moment her husband, Mynheer van Gend, came in, 
and the enchantment falling upon the boys was complete. 

The invisible fairies of the household at once clustered 
about them whispering that Jasper van Gend had a heart as 
young and fresh as their own, and if he loved anything in this 
world more than industry, it was sunshine and frolic. They 
hinted also something about his having a heart full of love and 
a head full of wisdom, and finally gave the boys to understand 
that when Mynheer said a thing he meant it. 

Therefore his frank "well now, this is pleasant," as he 
shook hands with them all, made the boys feel quite at home 
and as happy as squirrels. 

There were fine paintings in the drawing-room and ex- 

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HANS DRINKER; OR, 

quisite statuary, and portfolios filled with rare Dutch engrav- 
ings; besides many beautiful and curious things from China 
and Japan. The boys felt that it would require a month to 
examine all the treasures of the apartment. 

Ben noticed with pleasure English books lying upon the 
table. He saw also over the carved, upright piano, life-sized 
portraits of William of Orange and his English queen, a sight 
that, for a time, brought England and Holland side by side 
in his heart. William and Mary have left a halo round the 
English throne to this day, he the truest patriot that ever 
served an adopted country, she the noblest wife that ever sat 
upon a British throne, up to the time of Victoria and Albert 
the Good. As Ben looked at the pictures, he remembered 
accounts he had read of King William's visit to the Hague 
in the winter of 1691. He who sang the Battle of Ivry had 
not yet told the glowing story of that day, but Ben knew 
enough of it to fancy that he could almost hear the shouts 
of the delighted populace as he looked from the portraits to 
the street, which at this moment was aglow with a bonfire, 
kindled in a neighboring square. 

The royal visit was one never to be forgotten. For two 
years William of Orange had been monarch of a foreign land, 
his head working faithfully for England, but his whole heart 
yearning for Holland. Now when he sought its shores once 
more, the entire nation bade him welcome. Multitudes flocked 
to the Hague to meet him- :< many thousands came sliding 
or skating along the frozen canals from Amsterdam, Rotter- 
dam, Leyden, Haarlem, Delft."* All day long the festivities 

* Macaulay's History of England. 
[198] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

of the capital were kept up, the streets were gorgeous with 
banners, evergreen arches, trophies, and mottoes of welcome 
and emblems of industry. William saw the deeds of his an- 
cestors and scenes of his own past life depicted on banners 
and tapestries along the streets. At night, superb fireworks 
were displayed upon the ice. Its glassy surface was like a 
mirror. Sparkling fountains of light sprang up from below to 
meet the glittering cascades leaping upon it. Then a feathery 
fire of crimson and green shook millions of rubies and emeralds 
into the ruddy depths of the ice and all this time the people 
were shouting God bless William of Orange long live the 
King ! They were half mad with joy and enthusiasm. William, 
their own prince, their stadt-holder, had become the ruler of 
three kingdoms; he had been victorious in council and in 
war, and now, in his hour of greatest triumph, had come 
as a simple guest to visit them. The king heard their shouts 
with a beating heart. It is a great thing to be beloved 
by one's country. His English courtiers complimented him 
upon his reception. 'Yes," said he, :< but the shouting 
is nothing to what it would have been if Mary had been 
with me!" 

While Ben was looking at the portraits, Mynheer van Gend 
was giving the boys an account of a recent visit to Antwerp. 
As it was the birthplace of Quentin Matsys, the blacksmith 
who for love of an artist's daughter studied until he became 
a great painter, the boys asked their host if he had seen any 
of Matsys' works. 

'Yes, indeed," he replied, "and excellent they are. His 

famous triptych in a chapel of the Antwerp cathedral, with 

[199] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

the Descent from the Cross on the centre panel, is especially 
fine; but I confess I was more interested in his well." 

"What well, mynheer?" asked Ludwig. 

"One in the heart of the city, near this same Cathedral, 
whose lofty steeple is of such delicate workmanship that the 
French Emperor said it reminded him of Mechlin lace. The 
well is covered with a Gothic canopy surmounted by the figure 
of a knight in full armor. It is all of metal, and proves that 
Matsys was an artist at the forge as well as at the easel; in- 
deed, his great fame is mainly derived from his miraculous 
skill as an artificer in iron." 

Next, mynheer showed the boys some exquisite Berlin 
castings which he had purchased in Antwerp. They were 
iron jewelry, and very delicate beautiful medallions designed 
from rare paintings, bordered with fine tracery and open work 
-worthy, he said, of being worn by the fairest lady of the land. 
Consequently the necklace was handed with a bow and a smile 
to the blushing Mevrouw van Gend. 

Something in the lady's aspect, as she bent her bright 
young face over the gift, caused mynheer to add earnestly, 

"I can read your thoughts, sweetheart." 

She looked up in playful defiance. 

"Ah, now I am sure of them. You were thinking of those 
noble-hearted women, but for whom Prussia might have fallen. 
I know it by that proud light in your eye." 

"The proud light in my eye plays me false, then," she 
answered, "I had no such grand matter in my mind. To con- 
fess the simple truth, I was only thinking how lovely this neck- 
lace would be with my blue brocade." 

[200] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

"So! so!" exclaimed the rather crestfallen spouse. 

"But I can think of the other, Jasper, and it will add a 
deeper value to your gift. You remember the incident, do 
you not, Peter? How when the French were invading Prussia 
and for lack of means the country was unable to defend itself 
against the enemy, the women turned the scale by pouring 
their plate and jewels into the public treasury " 

"Aha!" thought mynheer, as he met his vrouw's kindling 
glance. 'The proud light is there now, in earnest." 

Peter remarked maliciously that the women had still proved 
true to their vanity on that occasion, for jewelry they would 
have. If gold or silver were wanted by the kingdom, they 
would relinquish it and use iron, but they could not do without 
their ornaments. 

"What of that?" said the vrouw, kindling again. "It is 
no sin to love beautiful things, if you adapt your material to 
circumstances. All / have to say is, the women saved their 
country and, indirectly, introduced a very important branch 
of manufacture. Is not that so, Jasper?' 1 

"Of course it is, sweetheart," said mynheer, 'but Peter 
needs no word of mine to convince him that all the world over 
women have never been found wanting in their country's hour of 
trial, though (bowing to Me vrouw) his own country women stand 
foremost in the records of female patriotism and devotion." 

Then, turning to Ben, the host talked with him in English 
of the fine old Belgian city. Among other things, he told the 
origin of its name. Ben had been taught that Antwerp was 
derived from ae'nt werf (on the wharf), but Mynheer van Gend 

gave him a far more interesting derivation. 

[201] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

It appears that about three thousand years ago a great 
giant, named Antigonus, lived on the river Scheld, on the site 
of the present city of Antwerp. This giant claimed half the 
merchandise of all navigators who passed his castle. Of course 
some were inclined to oppose this simple regulation. In such 
cases Antigonus, by way of teaching them to practice better 
manners next time, cut off and threw into the river the right 
hands of the merchants. Thus hand-werpen (or hand-throw- 
ing), changed to Antwerp, came to be the name of the place. 
The escutcheon or arms of the city has two hands upon it; 
what better proof than this could one have of the truth of the 
story, especially when one wishes to believe it? 

The giant was finally conquered and thrown into the 
Scheld by a hero called Brabo, who in turn gave a name to 
the district known as Brabant. Since then the Dutch mer- 
chants have traveled the river in peace; but I, for one, thank 
old Antigonus for giving the city so romantic an origin. 

When Mynheer van Gend had related in two languages 
this story of Antwerp, he was tempted to tell other legends 
some in English, some in Dutch; and so the moments, borne 
upon the swift shoulders of gnomes and giants, glided rapidly 
away toward bed-time. 

It was hard to break up so pleasant a party, but the van 
Gend household moved with the regularity of clockwork. 
There was no lingering at the threshold when the cordial 
* good-night ! ' was spoken. Even while our boys were mounting 
the stairs, the invisible household fairies again clustered 
around them, whispering that system and regularity had been 
chief builders of the master's prosperity. 

[202] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

Beautiful chambers with three beds in them were not to 
be found in this mansion. Some of the rooms contained two, 
but each visitor slept alone. Before morning, the motto of the 
party evidently was, ' every boy his own chrysalis ' and Peter, 
at least, was not sorry to have it so. 

Tired as he was, Ben, after noting a curious bell-rope in 
the corner, began to examine his bed-clothes. Each article 
filled him with astonishment the exquisitely fine pillow- 
spread trimmed with costly lace and embroidered with a gor- 
geous crest and initial, the dekbed cover (a great silk bag, large 
as the bed, stuffed with swansdown) and the pink satin quilts, 
embroidered with garlands of flowers. He could scarcely sleep 
for thinking what a queer little bed it was, so comfortable and 
pretty, too, with all its queerness. In the morning he exam- 
ined the top coverlet with care, for he wished to send home a 
description of it in his next letter. It was a Japanese spread, 
marvelous in texture as well as in its variety of brilliant color- 
ing, and worth, as Ben afterward learned, not less than three 
hundred dollars. 

The floor was of polished wooden mosaic, nearly covered 
with a rich carpet bordered with thick, black fringe. Another 
room displayed a margin of satin-wood around the carpet. 
Hung with tapestry, its walls of crimson silk were topped with 
a gilded cornice which shot down gleams of light far into the 
polished floor. 

Over the doorway of the room in which Jacob and Ben 
slept was a bronze stork who, with outstretched neck, held a 
lamp to light the guests into the apartment. Between the two 

narrow beds, of carved white-wood and ebony, stood the 

[203] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

household treasure of the van Gends, a massive oaken chair 
upon which the Prince of Orange had once sat, during a coun- 
cil meeting. Opposite stood a quaintly carved clothes-press, 
waxed and polished to the utmost, and filled with precious 
stores of linen; beside it a table holding a large Bible, whose 
great golden clasps looked poor compared with its solid, ribbed 
binding, made to outlast six generations. 

There was a ship model on the mantel-shelf, and over it 
hung an old portrait of Peter the Great, who, you know, once 
gave the dockyard cats of Holland a fine chance to look at 
a king, which is one of the special prerogatives of cats. Peter, 
though czar of Russia, was not too proud to work as a com- 
mon shipwright in the dockyards of Saardam and Amsterdam, 
that he might be able to introduce among his countrymen 
Dutch improvements in ship-building. It was this willingness 
to be thorough in even the smallest beginnings that earned for 
him the title of Peter the Great. 

Peter the little (comparatively speaking) was up first the 
next morning; knowing the punctual habits of his brother- 
in-law, he took good care that none of the boys should over- 
sleep themselves. A hard task he found it to wake Jacob 
Poot ; but after pulling that young gentleman out of bed, and, 
with Ben's help, dragging him about the room for awhile, he 
succeeded in arousing him. 

While Jacob was dressing, and moaning within him, be- 
cause the felt slippers, provided him as a guest, were too tight 
for his swollen feet, Peter wrote to inform their friends at 
Broek of the safe arrival of his party at the Hague. He also 

begged his mother to send word to Hans Brinker that Dr. 

[204] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

Boekman had not yet reached Leyden, but that a letter con- 
taining Hans' message had been left at the Hotel, where the 
doctor always lodged during his visits to the city. 'Tell him, 
also," wrote Peter, "that I shall call there again as I pass 
through Leyden. The poor boy seemed to feel sure that 'the 
meester' would hasten to save his father, but we, who know 
the gruff old gentleman better, may be confident he will do 
no such thing. It would be a kindness to send a visiting phy- 
sician from Amsterdam to the cottage at once, if Jufvrouw* 
Brinker will consent to receive any but the great king of the 
meesters, as Dr. Boekman certainly is. 

"You know, mother," added Peter, "that I have always 
considered sister van Gend's house as rather quiet and lonely; 
but I assure you, it is not so now. Sister says our presence has 
warmed it for the whole winter. Brother van Gend is very 
kind to us all. He says we make him wish that he had a house- 
ful of boys of his own. He has promised to let us ride on his 
noble black horses. They are gentle as kittens, he says, if 
one have but a firm touch at the rein. Ben, according to 
Jacob's account, is a glorious rider, and your son Peter is not 
a very bad hand at the business; so we two are to go out 
together this morning mounted like knights of old. After we 
return, brother van Gend says he will lend Jacob his English 
pony and obtain three extra horses; and all of the party are 
to trot about the city, in a grand cavalcade, led on by him. 

* In Holland, women of the lower grades of society do not take the 
title of Mrs. (or Mevrouw) when they marry, as with us. They assume 
their husband's name, but are still called Miss (Jufvrouw, pronounced 
Yuff row) . 

[205] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

He will ride the black horse which father sent him from Fries- 
land. My sister's pretty roan with the long white tail is lame 
and she will ride none other; else she would accompany us. 
I could scarce close my eyes last night after sister told me of 
the plan. Only the thought of poor Hans Brinker and his 
sick father checked me but for that I could have sung for 
joy. Ludwig has given us a name already the Broek Cav- 
alry. We flatter ourselves that we shall make an imposing 
appearance, especially in single file * * * * 

The Broek Cavalry were not disappointed. Mynheer van 
Gend readily procured good horses ; and all the boys could ride, 
though none were as perfect horsemen (or horseboys) as Peter 
and Ben. They saw the Hague to their hearts' content; and 
the Hague saw them expressing its approbation, loudly, 
through the mouths of small boys and cart-dogs; silently, 
through bright eyes that, not looking very deeply into things, 
shone as they looked at the handsome Carl, and twinkled with 
fun as a certain portly youth with shaking cheeks rode past 
; 'bumpetty, bumpetty, bump!" 

On their return the boys pronounced the great porcelain 
stove in the family sitting room a decidedly useful piece of 
furniture, for they could gather round it and get warm without 
burning their noses or bringing on chilblains. It was so very 
large that, though hot nowhere, it seemed to send out warmth 
by the houseful Its pure white sides and polished brass rings 
made it a pretty object to look upon, notwithstanding the fact 
that our ungrateful Ben, while growing thoroughly warm and 
comfortable beside it, concocted a satirical sentence for his 
next letter, to the effect that a stove in Holland must of course 

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THE SILVER SKATES 

resemble a great tower of snow or it wouldn't be in keeping 
with the oddity of the country. 

To describe all the boys saw and did on that day and the 
next, would render this little book a formidable volume indeed. 
They visited the brass cannon foundry, saw the liquid fire 
poured into moulds and watched the smiths who, half naked 
stood in the shadow, like demons playing with flame. They 
admired the grand public buildings and massive private houses, 
the elegant streets, and noble Bosch pride of all beauty- 
loving Hollanders. The palace with its brilliant mosaic floors, 
its frescoed ceilings, and gorgeous ornament, filled Ben with 
delight; he was surprised that some of the churches were so 
very plain elaborate sometimes in external architecture, but 
bare and bleak within, with their blank, whitewashed walls. 

If there were no printed record, the churches of Holland 
would almost tell her story. I will not enter into the subject 
here, except to say that Ben who had read of her struggles 
and wrongs, and of the terrible retribution she from time to 
time dealt forth could scarcely tread a Holland town with- 
out mentally leaping horror-stricken over the bloody stepping- 
stones of its history. He could not forget Philip of Spain nor 
the duke of Alva, even while rejoicing in the prosperity that 
followed the Liberation. He looked in the meekest of Dutch 
eyes, for something of the fire that once lit the haggard faces 
of those desperate, lawless men, who, wearing with pride the 
title of * beggars' which their oppressors had mockingly cast 
upon them, became the terror of land and sea. In Haarlem, 
he had wondered that the air did not still resound with the 

cries of Alva's three thousand victims. In Leyden, his heart 

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HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

had swelled in sympathy as he thought of the long procession 
of scarred and famished creatures who, after the siege, with 
Adrian van der Werf at their head, tottered to the great 
church to sing a glorious anthem because Leyden was free! 
He remembered that this was even before they had tasted 
the bread brought by the Dutch ships. They would praise 
God first, then eat. Thousands of trembling voices were raised 
in glad thanksgiving. For a moment it swelled higher and 
higher then suddenly changed to sobbing not one of all the 
multitude could sing another note. But who shall say that 
the anthem, even to its very end, was not heard in Heaven! 
Here, in the Hague, other thoughts came to Ben Of how 
Holland in later years unwillingly put her head under the 
French yoke, and how, galled and lashed past endurance, she 
had resolutely jerked it out again. He liked her for that. 
What nation of any spirit, thought he, could be expected to 
stand such work, paying all her wealth into a foreign treasury 
and yielding up the flower of her youth under foreign con- 
scription? It was not so very long ago, either, since English 
guns had been heard booming close by in the German Ocean; 
well all the fighting was over at last. Holland was a snug 
little monarchy now in her own right, and Ben, for one, was 
glad of it. Arrived at this charitable conclusion, he was pre- 
pared to enjoy to the utmost all the wonders of her capital; 
he quite delighted Mynheer van Gend with his hearty and in- 
telligent interest so, in fact, did all the boys, for a merrier, 
more observant party never went sight-seeing. 



[208] 



XXVIII 
THROUGH THE HAGUE 

THE picture gallery, in the Maurits Huis,* one of the 
finest in the world, seemed only to have flashed by the 
boys during a two hours' visit, so much was there to 
admire and examine. As for the Royal Cabinet of curiosities, 
in the same building, they felt that they had but glanced at 
it though they were there nearly half a day. It seemed to them 
that Japan had poured all her treasures within its walls. For 
a long period Holland, always foremost in commerce, was the 
only nation allowed to have any intercourse with Japan. One 
can well forego a journey to that country if he can but visit 
the Museum at the Hague. 

Room after room is filled with collections from the Hermit 
Empire Costumes peculiar to various ranks and pursuits, 
articles of ornament, household utensils, weapons, armor and 
surgical instruments. There is also an ingenious Japanese 
model of the island of Desina, the Dutch factory in Japan. 
It appears almost as the Island itself would if seen through a 
reversed opera-glass, and makes one feel like a Gulliver coming 
unexpectedly upon a Japanese Lilliput. There you see hun- 
dreds of people in native costumes, standing, kneeling, stoop- 
ing, reaching all at work, or pretending to be and their 
dwellings, even their very furniture, spread out before you, 
plain as day. In another room a huge tortoise shell baby- 

* A Building erected by Prince Maurice of Nassau. 

[209] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

house fitted up in Dutch style and inhabited by dignified 
Dutch dolls, stands ready to tell you at a glance how people 
live in Holland. 

Gretel, Hilda, Katrinka, even the proud Rychie Korbes, 
would have been delighted with this; but Peter and his gal- 
lant band passed it by without a glance. The war implements 
had the honor of detaining them for an hour; such clubs, such 
murderous krits, or daggers, such fire-arms, and, above all, such 
wonderful Japanese swords, quite capable of performing the 
accredited Japanese feat of cutting a man in two at a single 
stroke ! 

There were Chinese and other oriental curiosities in the 
collection. Native historical relics, too, upon which our young 
Dutchman gazed very soberly, though they were secretly 
proud to show them to Ben. 

There was a model of the cabin at Saardam in which Peter 
the Great lived during his short career as a ship-builder. 
Also, wallets and bowls once carried by the "Beggar" Con- 
federates who, uniting under the Prince of Orange, had freed 
Holland from the tyranny of Spain; the sword of Admiral 
Van Speyk, who about ten years before had perished in volun- 
tarily blowing up his own ship; and Van Tromp's armor with 
the marks of bullets upon it. Jacob looked around, hoping to 
see the broom which the plucky admiral fastened to his mast- 
head but it was not there. The waistcoat which William 
Third* of England wore during the last days of his life, pos- 

* William, Prince of Orange, who became King of England, was a 
great grandson of William the Silent, Prince of Orange, who was murdered 
by Geraerts (or Gerard) July 10th, 1584. 

[210] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

sessed great interest for Ben; and one and all gazed with a 
mixture of reverence and horror- worship at the identical cloth- 
ing worn by William the Silent when he was murdered at 
Delft by Balthazar Geraerts. A tawny leather doublet and 
plain surcoat of grey cloth, a soft felt hat, and a high neck-ruff 
from which hung one of the ' Beggars' ' medals these were not 
in themselves very princely objects, though the doublet had 
a tragic interest from its dark stains and bullet holes. Ben 
could readily believe, as he looked upon the garments, that the 
Silent Prince, true to his greatness of character, had been ex- 
ceedingly simple in his attire. His aristocratic prejudices were, 
however, decidedly shocked when Lambert told him of the 
way in which William's bride first entered the Hague. 

'The beautiful Louisa de Coligny, whose father and 
former husband both had fallen at the Massacre of St. Bar- 
tholomew, was coming to be fourth wife to the Prince, and of 
course," said Lambert, : 'we Hollanders were too gallant to 
allow the lady to enter the town on foot. No, sir, we sent 
(or rather my ancestors did) a clean open post-wagon to meet 
her, with a plank across it for her to sit upon!" 

'Very gallant indeed!" exclaimed Ben, with almost a sneer 
in his polite laugh "and she the daughter of an Admiral of 
France!" 

'Was she? Upon my word I had nearly forgotten that. 
But you see Holland had very plain ways in the good old 
time, in fact, we are a very simple, frugal people to this 
day. The Van Gend establishment is a decided exception, 
you know." 

"A very agreeable exception, I think," said Ben. 

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HANS BRIXKER; OR, 

"Certainly, certainly. But, between you and me, Myn- 
heer van Gend, though he has wrought his own fortunes, can 
afford to be magnificent and yet be frugal." 

' Exactly so," said Ben profoundly; at the same time strok- 
ing his upper lip and chin, which latterly he believed had been 
showing delightful and unmistakable signs of coming dignities. 

While tramping on foot through the city, Ben often longed 
for a good English sidewalk. Here, as in the other towns, 
there was no curb, no raised pavement for foot travelers but 
the streets were clean and even, and all vehicles were kept 
scrupulously within a certain tract. Strange to say, there were 
nearly as many sleds as wagons to be seen, though there was 
not a particle of snow. The sleds went scraping over the bricks 
or cobble-stones; some provided with an apparatus in front 
for sprinkling water, to diminish the friction, and some ren- 
dered less musical by means of a dripping oil rag, which the 
driver occasionally applied to the runners. 

Ben was surprised at the noiseless way in which Dutch 
laborers do their work. Even around the warehouses and 
docks there was no bustle, no shouting from one to another. 
A certain twitch of the pipe, or turn of the head or, at most, 
a raising of the hand, seemed to be all the signal necessary. 
Entire loads of cheeses or herrings are pitched from cart or 
canal-boat into the warehouses without a word; but the pas- 
ser-by must take his chance of being pelted, for a Dutchman 
seldom looks before or behind him while engaged at work. 

Poor Jacob Foot, who seemed destined to bear all the 
mishaps of the journey, was knocked nearly breathless by a 
great cheese which a fat Dutchman was throwing to a fellow- 

[212] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

laborer; but he recovered himself, and passed on without 
evincing the least indignation. 

Ben professed great sympathy on the occasion, but Jacob 
insisted that it was " netting. " 

"Then why did you screw your face so when it hit you?' 
'What for screw mine face?" repeated Jacob soberly, "vy, 
it vash de de " 

'The what?" insisted Ben, maliciously. 

' Vy, de de vat you call dis, vat you taste mit de nose?" 

Ben laughed. 

"Oh, you mean the smell." 

'Yesh. Dat ish it," said Jacob eagerly "it wash de 
shmell. I draw mine face for dat!" 

: 'Ha! ha!" roared Ben, "that's a good one. A Dutch boy 
smell a cheese. You can never make me believe that!' 

'Veil, it is no matter," replied Jacob, trudging on beside 
Ben in perfect good humor "vait till you hit mit cheese 
dat ish all." 

Soon he added pathetically "Penchamin, I no likes be 
call Tutch dat ish no goot. I bees a Hollander." 

Just as Ben was apologizing, Lambert hailed him. 

"Hold up, Ben! Here is the Fish Market. There is not 
much to be seen at this season. But we can take a look at the 
storks if you wish." 

Ben knew that storks were held in peculiar reverence in 
Holland, and that the bird figured upon the arms of the 
Capital. He had noticed cart-wheels placed upon the roofs of 
Dutch cottages to entice storks to settle upon them; he had 

seen their huge nests, too, on many a thatched gable roof from 

[213] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

Brock to the Hague. But it was winter now. The nests were 
empty. No greedy birdlings opened their mouths or rather 
their heads at the approach of a great white winged thing, 
with outstretched neck and legs, bearing a dangling something 
for their breakfast. The long bills w r ere far away, picking up 
food on African shores; and before they would return in the 
Spring, Ben's visit to the land of dykes \vould be over. 

Therefore he pressed eagerly forward, as van Mounen led 
the way through the fish-market, anxious to see if storks in 
Holland w r ere anything like the melancholy specimens he had 
seen in the Zoological Gardens of London. 

It was the same old story. A tamed bird is a sad bird, say 
what you will. These storks lived in a sort of kennel, chained 
by the feet like felons, though supposed to be honored by being 
kept at the public expense. In summer they were allowed to 
walk about the market, where the fish-stalls were like so many 
free dining-saloons to them. Untasted delicacies in the form 
of raw fish and butcher's offals lay about their kennels now, 
but the city -guests preferred to stand upon one leg, curving 
back their long neck and leaning their head sidewise, in a 
blinking reverie. How gladly they would have changed their 
petted state for the busy life of some hard-working stork 
mother or father, bringing up a troublesome family on the 
roof of a rickety old building, where flapping windmills frigh- 
tened them half to death every time they ventured forth on a 
frolic ! 

Ben soon made up his mind, and rightly, too, that the 
Hague, with its fine streets and public parks shaded with elms, 

was a magnificent city. The prevailing costume was like that 

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THE SILVER SKATES 

of London or Paris, and his British ears were many a time 
cheered by the music of British words. The shops were 
different in many respects from those on Oxford Street and 
the Strand, but they often were illumined by a printed an- 
nouncement that English was "spoken within." Others pro- 
claimed themselves to have London Stout for sale and one 
actually promised to regale its customers with ENGLISH ROAST 
BEEF. 

Over every possible shop-door was the never-failing placard, 
'Tabak te Koop' (tobacco to be sold). Instead of colored 
glass globes in the windows, or high jars of leeches, the drug- 
stores had a gaping Turk's head at the entrance or, if the 
establishment were particularly fine, a wooden mandarin en- 
tire, indulging in a full yawn. 

Some of these queer faces amused Ben exceedingly; they 
seemed to have just swallowed a dose of physic; but van 
Mounen declared he could not see anything funny about them. 
A druggist show r ed his sense by putting a Gaper before his door, 
so that his place could be known at once as an 'apotheek' 
and that was all there was about it. 

Another thing attracted Ben the milkmen's carts. These 
were small affairs, filled with shiny brass kettles, or stone jars, 
and drawn by dogs. The milkman walked meekly beside his 
cart, keeping his dog in order, and delivering the milk to cus- 
tomers. Certain fish dealers had dog-carts, also, and when a 
herring-dog chanced to meet a milk-dog, he invariably put on 
airs and growled as he passed him. Sometimes a milk-dog 
would recognize an acquaintance before another milk-cart 

across the street, and then how the kettles would rattle, espe- 

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HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

cially if they were empty ! Each dog would give a bound and, 
never caring for his master's whistle, insist upon meeting the 
other half way. Sometimes they contented themselves with 
an inquisitive sniff, but generally the smaller dog made an 
affectionate snap at the larger one's ear, or a friendly tussle was 
engaged in by way of exercise. Then wo! to the milk kettles, 
and wo! to the dogs! 

The whipping over, each dog, expressing his feelings as 
best he could, would trot leisurely back to his work. 

If some of these animals were eccentric in their ways, 
others were remarkably well behaved. In fact, there was a 
school for dogs in the city, established expressly for training 
them; Ben probably saw some of its graduates. Many a time 
he noticed a span of barkers trotting along the street with all 
the dignity of horses, obeying the slightest hint of the man 
walking briskly beside them. Sometimes, when their load was 
delivered, the dealer would jump in the cart and have a fine 
drive to his home beyond the gates of the city ; and sometimes, 
I regret to say, a patient vrouw would trudge beside the cart, 
with fish-basket upon her head, and a child in her arms 
while her lord enjoyed his drive, carrying no heavier burden 
than a stumpy clay pipe, the smoke of which mounted lov- 
ingly into her face. 



[216] 



XXIX 
A DAY OF REST 

THE sight seeing came to an end at last, and so did our 
boys' visit to the Hague. They had spent three happy 
days and nights with the van Gends, and, strange to 
say, had not once, in all that time, put on skates. The third 
day had indeed been one of rest. The noise and bustle of the 
city was hushed; sweet Sunday bells sent blessed, tranquil 
thoughts into their hearts. Ben felt, as he listened to their 
familiar music, that the Christian world is one, after all, how- 
ever divided by sects and differences it may be. As the clock 
speaks everyone's native language in whatever land it may 
strike the hour, so church-bells are never foreign if our hearts 
but listen. 

Led on by those clear voices, our party, with Mevrouw van 
Gend and her husband, trod the quiet but crowded streets, 
until they came to a fine old church in the southern part of 
the city. 

The interior was large and, notwithstanding its great 
stained windows, seemed dimly lighted, though the walls were 
white, and dashes of red and purple sunshine lay brightly 
upon pillar and pew. 

Ben saw a few old women moving softly through the 
aisles, each bearing a high pile of foot-stoves which she dis- 
tributed among the congregation by skillfully slipping out the 

[217] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

under one, until none were left. It puzzled him that myn- 
heer should settle himself with the boys in a comfortable side- 
pew, after seating his vrouw in the body of the church, which 
was filled with chairs exclusively appropriated to the women. 
But Ben was learning only a common custom of the country. 

The pews of the nobility and the dignitaries of the city 
were circular in form, each surrounding a column. Elaborately 
carved, they formed a massive base to their great pillars stand- 
ing out in bold relief against the blank, white walls beyond. 
These columns, lofty and well-proportioned, were nicked and 
defaced from violence done to them long ago; yet it seemed 
quite fitting that, before they were lost in the deep arches over- 
head, their softened outlines should leaf out as they did into 
richness and beauty. 

Soon Ben lowered his gaze to the marble floor. It was a 
pavement of grave-stones. Nearly all the large slabs, of which 
it was composed, marked the resting-places of the dead. An 
armorial design engraved upon each stone, with inscription 
and date, told whose form was sleeping beneath, and some- 
times three of a family were lying one above the other in the 
same sepulchre. 

He could not but think of the solemn funeral procession 
winding by torch-light through those lofty aisles, and bearing 
its silent burden toward a dark opening whence a slab had been 
lifted, in readiness for its coming. It was something to feel 
that his sister Mabel, who died in her flower, was lying in a 
sunny church-yard, where a brook rippled and sparkled in 
the daylight, and waving trees whispered together all night 
long; where flowers might nestle close to the headstone and 

[218] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

moon and stars shed their peace upon it, and morning birds 
sing sweetly overhead. 

Then he looked up from the pavement and rested his eyes 
upon the carved oaken pulpit, exquisitely beautiful in design 
and workmanship. He could not see the minister though, 
not long before, he had watched him slowly ascending its 
winding stair a mild-faced man wearing a ruff about his 
neck, and a short cloak reaching nearly to the knee. 

Meantime the great church had been silently filling. Its 
pews were sombre with men and its centre radiant with women 
in their fresh Sunday attire. Suddenly a soft rustling spread 
through the building. All eyes were turned toward the min- 
ister now appearing above the pulpit. 

Although the sermon was spoken slowly, Ben could under- 
stand little of what was said; but when the hymn came, he 
joined in with all his heart. A thousand voices lifted in love 
and praise offered a grander language that he could readily 
comprehend. 

Once he was startled, during a pause in the service, by 
seeing a little bag suddenly shaken before him. It had a tin- 
kling bell at its side, and was attached to a long stick carried 
by one of the deacons of the church. Not relying solely upon 
the mute appeal of the poor-boxes fastened to the columns 
near the entrance, this more direct method was resorted to, 
of awakening the sympathies of the charitable. 

Fortunately Ben had provided himself with a few stivers, 
or the musical bag must have tinkled before him in vain. 

More than once a dark look rose on our English boy's 

face that morning. He longed to stand up and harangue the 

[219] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

people concerning a peculiarity that filled him with pain. 
Some of the men wore their hats during the service, or took 
them off whenever the humor prompted, and many put theirs 
on in the church as soon as they arose to leave. No wonder 
Ben's sense of propriety was wounded; and yet a higher 
sense would have been exercised had he tried to feel willing 
that Hollanders should follow the customs of their country. 
But his English heart said over and over again, : 'it is out- 
rageous! it is sinful!" 

There is an Angel called Charity who often would save 
our hearts a great deal of trouble if we would but let her in. 



XXX 

HOMEWARD BOUND 

ON Monday morning, bright and early, our boys bade 
farewell to their kind entertainers and started on 
their homeward journey. 

Peter lingered awhile at the lion-guarded door, for he and 
his sister had many parting words to say. 

As Ben saw them bidding each other 'good-bye,' he could 
not help feeling that kisses as well as clocks were wonderfully 
alike everywhere. The English kiss that his sister Jennie gave 
when he left home had said the same thing to him that the 
vrouw van Gend's Dutch kiss said to Peter. Ludwig had taken 
his share of the farewell in the most matter-of-fact manner 
possible, and though he loved his sister well, had winced a 
little at her making such a child of him as to put an extra kiss 
"for mother" upon his forehead. 

He was already upon the canal with Carl and Jacob. Were 
they thinking about sisters or kisses? Not a bit of it. They 
were so happy to be on skates once more, so impatient to dart 
at once into the very heart of Broek, that they spun and 
wheeled about like crazy fellows, relieving themselves, mean- 
time, by muttering something about "Peter and donder" not 
worth translating. 

Even Lambert and Ben, who had been waiting at the street- 
corner, began to grow impatient. 

The captain joined them at last; they were soon on the 

canal with the rest. 

[221] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

'Hurry up, Peter," growled Ludwig- ''we're freezing by 
inches there! I knew you'd be the last after all to get on 
your skates!" 

'Did you?' : said his brother looking up with an air of 
deep interest "clever boy!" 

Ludwig laughed, but tried to look cross, as he said- 'I'm 
in earnest, anyhow. We must get home some time this year." 

'Now, boys," cried Peter springing up, as he fastened the 
last buckle. ' There's a clear way before us ! We will imagine 
it's the grand race. Ready! One two three START!" 

I assure you very little was said for the first half hour. 
They were six Mercuries skimming the ice. In plain English 
they went like lightning no, that is imaginary too. The fact 
is, one cannot decide what to say when half a dozen boys are 
whizzing past at such a rate. I can only tell you that each did 
his best, flying, with bent body and eager eyes, in and out 
among the placid skaters on the canal, until the very guard 
shouted to them to ' hold up ! ' This only served to send them 
onward with a two-boy power that startled all beholders. 
But the laws of inertia are stronger even than canal-guards. 
After a while Jacob slackened his speed then Ludwig 
then Lambert then Carl. 

They soon halted to take a long breath, and finally found 
themselves standing in a group gazing after Peter and Ben 
who were still racing in the distance as if their lives were at 
stake. 

'It is very evident," said Lambert, as he and his three 
companions started on again, "that neither of them will give 
up until he can't help it." 

[222] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

"What foolishness!" growled Carl, "to tire themselves at 
the beginning of the journey but they're racing in earnest 
that's certain. Hallo! Peter's flagging!" 

"Not so!" cried Ludwig "catch him being beaten!" 

"Ha! ha!" sneered Carl. "I tell you, boy, Benjamin is 
ahead." 

Now if Ludwig disliked anything in this world, it was to 
be called a boy probably because he was nothing else. He 
grew indignant at once. 

"Humph, what are you, I wonder. There, sir! now look 
and see if Peter isn't ahead!" 

"I think he is" interposed Lambert, <:< but I can't quite 
tell at this distance." 

"I think he isn't!" retorted Carl. 

Jacob was growing anxious he always abhorred an argu- 
ment so he said in a coaxing tone, "Don't quarrel don't 
quarrel!" 

"Don't quarrel!" mocked Carl, looking back at Jacob as 
he skated. 'Who's quarreling? Poot, you're a goose!" 

"I can't help that," was Jacob's meek reply. "See! they 
are nearing the turn of the canal. ' ; 

"Now we can see!" cried Ludwig in great excitement. 

"Peter will make it first, I know." 

"He can't f or Ben is ahead! "insisted Carl. "Gunst! That 
ice-boat will run over him. No! he is clear! They're a couple 
of geese anyhow. Hurrah ! they're at the turn. Who's ahead ? " 

"PETER!" cried Ludwig, joyfully. 

"Good for the captain!" shouted Lambert and Jacob. 

And Carl condescended to mutter: 

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HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

"It is Peter after all. I thought, all the time, that head 
fellow was Ben." 

This turn in the canal had evidently been their goal, for 
the two racers came to a sudden halt after passing it. 

Carl said something about being "glad that they had sense 
enough to stop and rest," and the four boys skated on in 
silence to overtake their companions. 

All the while Carl was secretly wishing that he had kept 
on with Peter and Ben, as he felt sure he could easily have come 
out winner. He was a very rapid, though by no means a 
graceful, skater. 

Ben was looking at Peter with mingled vexation, admira- 
tion and surprise, as the boys drew near. 

They heard him saying in English: 

'You're a perfect bird on the ice, Peter van Holp. The 
first fellow that ever beat me in a fair race, I can tell you!" 

Peter, who understood the language better than he could speak 
it, returned a laughing bow at Ben's compliment, but made no 
further reply. Possibly he was scant of breath at the time. 

'Now, Penchamin, vat you do mit yourself? get so hot as 
a fire-brick dat ish no goot," was Jacob's plaintive comment. 

'Nonsense!" answered Ben. 'This frosty air will cool 
me soon enough. I am not tired." 

'You are beaten, though, my boy," sdd Lambert in Eng- 
lish, "and fairly, too. How will it be, I wonder, on the day of 
the grand race?" 

Ben flushed, and gave a proud, defiant laugh, as if to say: 
'This was mere pastime. I'm determined to beat then 
come what will!" 

[224] 



XXXI 
BOYS AND GIRLS 

Bif the time the boys reached the village of Voorhout, 
which stands near the grand canal, about half way 
between the Hague and Haarlem, they were forced to 
hold a council. The wind, though moderate at first, had grown 
stronger and stronger, until at last they could hardly skate 
against it. The weather-vanes throughout the country had 
evidently entered into a conspiracy. 

" No use trying to face such a blow as this," said Ludwig. 
"It cuts its w T ay down a man's throat like a knife." 

"Keep your mouth shut, then," grunted the affable Carl, 
who was strong-chested as a young ox, "I'm for keeping on." 

"In this case," interposed Peter, ''we must consult the 
weakest of the party rather than the strongest." 

The captain's principle was all right, but its application was 
not flattering to Master Ludwig; shrugging his shoulders, he 
retorted : 

"Who's weak? Not I, for one but the wind's stronger 
than any of us. I hope you'll condescend to admit that!" 

"Ha! ha!" laughed van Mounen, who could barely keep 
his feet, "so it is." 

Just then the weather-vanes telegraphed to each other by 
a peculiar twitch and, in an instant, the gust came. It nearly 
threw the strong-chested Carl; it almost strangled Jacob; 
and quite upset Ludwig. 

"This settles the question," shouted Peter, "off with your 

skates! We'll go into Voorhout." 

[225] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

At Voorhout they found a little inn with a big yard. The 
yard was well bricked, and, better than all, was provided with 
a complete set of skittles, so our boys soon turned the deten- 
tion into a frolic. The wind was troublesome even in that 
sheltered quarter, but they were on good standing-ground- 
and did not mind it. 

First a hearty dinner then the game. With pins as long 
as their arms, and balls as big as their heads, plenty of strength 
left for rolling, and a clean sweep of sixty yards for the strokes 
-no wonder they were happy. 

That night Captain Peter and his men slept soundly. No 
prowling robber came to disturb them; and, as they were dis- 
tributed in separate rooms, they did not even have a bolster- 
battle in the morning. 

Such a breakfast as they ate ! The landlord looked fright- 
ened. When he had asked them where they 'belonged,' he 
made up his mind that the Broek people starved their children. 
It was a shame, 'such fine young gentlemen, too!' 

Fortunately the wind had tired itself out, and fallen asleep 
in the great sea-cradle beyond the Dunes. There were signs 
of snow; otherwise, the weather was fine. 

It was mere child's-play for the well-rested boys to skate 
to Ley den. Here they halted awhile, for Peter had an errand 
at the ' Golden Eagle/ He left the city with a lightened heart; 
Dr. Boekman had been at the hotel, read the note containing 
Hans' message, and departed for Broek. 

'I cannot say it was your letter sent him off so soon," 
explained the landlord, "some rich lady in Broek was taken 
bad very sudden, and he was sent for in haste." 



THE SILVER SKATES 

Peter turned pale. 

"What was the name?" he asked. 

"Indeed, it went in one ear and out of the other for all 
I hindered it. Plague to people who can't see a traveler in 
comfortable lodgings, but they must whisk him off, before one 
can breathe." 

"A lady in Broek, did you say?" 

"Yes," very gruffly, "any other business, young master?" 

"No, mine host except that I and my comrades here 
would like a bite of something, and a drink of hot coffee." 

"Ah," said the landlord, sweetly, "a bite you shall have, 
and coffee too, the finest in Ley den. Walk up to the stove, my 
masters now I think again that was a widow lady from 
Rotterdam, I think they said visiting at one Van StoepePs, 
if I mistake not." 

" Ah ! " said Peter, greatly relieved. ' They live in the white 
house by the Schlossen Mill now, mynheer, the coffee, 
please!" 

"What a goose I was," thought he, as the party left the 
Golden Eagle, "to feel so sure it was my mother but she may 
be somebody's mother, poor woman, for all that. Who can 
she be, I wonder?' 5 

There were not many upon the canal that day, between 
Ley den and Haarlem. However, as the boys neared Amster- 
dam they found themselves once more in the midst of a 
moving throng. The big Ysbreeker* had been at work for the 

* Ice-breaker A heavy machine armed with iron spikes for breaking 
the ice as it is dragged along. Some of the small ones are worked by men 
but the large ones are drawn by horses sixty or seventy of which are 
sometimes attached to one Ysbreeker. 

[227] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

first time that season, but there was any amount of skating 
ground left yet. 

"Three cheers for home!" cried van Mounen, as they came 
in sight of the great Western dock (Westeli k Dok). " Hurrah ! 
Hurrah ! " shouted one and all, " Hurrah ! Hurrah ! " 

This trick of cheering was an importation among our party. 
Lambert van Mounen had brought it from England. As they 
always gave it in English, it was considered quite an exploit 
and, when circumstances permitted, always enthusiastically 
performed, to the sore dismay of their quiet-loving country- 
men. 

Therefore their arrival at Amsterdam created a great 
sensation, especially among the small boys on the wharves. 

The Y was crossed. They were on the Broek canal. 

Lambert's home was reached first. 

"Good-bye, boys!" he cried, as he left them, "we've had 
the greatest frolic ever known in Holland." 

"So we have. Good-bye, van Mounen!" answered the 
boys. 

"Good-bye!" 

Peter hailed him. "I say, van Mounen, the classes begin 
to-morrow!" 

'I know it. Our holiday is over. Good-bye, again." 

"Good-bye!" 

Broek came in sight. Such meetings! Katrinka was on 
the canal! Carl was delighted. Hilda was there! Peter felt 
rested in an instant. Rychie was there! Ludwig and Jacob 
nearly knocked each other over in their eagerness to shake 
hands with her. 

[228] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

Dutch girls are modest and generally quiet ; but they have 
very glad eyes. For a few moments it was hard to decide 
whether Hilda, Rychie or Katrinka felt the most happy. 

Annie Bouman was also on the canal, looking even prettier 
than the other maidens, in her graceful, peasant's costume. 
But she did not mingle with Rychie's party; neither did she 
look unusually happy. 

The one she liked most to see was not among the new- 
comers. Indeed, he was not upon the canal at all. She had 
not been near Broek since the Eve of St. Nicholas, for 
she was staying with her sick grandmother in Amsterdam, and 
had been granted a brief resting-spell, as the grandmother 
called it, because she had been such a faithful little nurse night 
and day. 

Annie had devoted her resting-spell to skating with all her 
might toward Broek, and back again, in the hope of meeting 
her mother or some of her family on the canal, or, it might be, 
Gretel Brinker not one of them had she seen and she must 
hurry back, without even catching a glimpse of her mother's 
cottage for the poor helpless grandmother, she knew, was by 
this time moaning for some one to turn her upon her cot. 

"Where can Gretel be?' 1 ' thought Annie, as she flew over 
the ice, "she can almost always steal a few moments from her 
work at this time of day poor Gretel what a dreadful thing 
it mast be to have a dull father I should be wofully afraid 
of him, I know So strong, and yet so strange!' 1 

Annie had not heard of his illness. Dame Brinker and her 
affairs received but little notice from the people of the place. 

If Gretel had not been known as a goose-girl she might have 

[229] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

had more friends among the peasantry of the neighborhood. 
As it was, Annie Bouman was the only one who did not feel 
ashamed to avow herself by word and deed the companion of 
Gretel and Hans. 

When the neighbors' children laughed at her for keeping 
such poor company, she would simply flush when Hans was 
ridiculed, or laugh in a careless, disdainful way; but to hear 
little Gretel abused always awakened her wrath. 

"Goose-girl! indeed!" she would say, "I can tell you any 
of you are fitter for the work than she. My father often said 
last summer that it troubled him to see such a bright-eyed, 
patient little maiden tending geese. Humph ! She would not 
harm them, as you would, Janzoon Kolp; and she would not 
tread upon them, as you might, Kate Wouters." 

This would be pretty sure to start a laugh at the clumsy, 
ill-natured Kate's expense; and Annie would walk loftily away 
from the group of young gossips. Perhaps some memory of 
Gretel's assailants crossed her mind as she skated rapidly to- 
ward Amsterdam, for her eyes sparkled ominously and she 
more than once gave her pretty head a defiant toss. When 
that mood passed, such a bright, rosy, affectionate look il- 
lumined her face that more than one weary workingman turned 
to gaze after her, and to wish that he had a glad, contented 
lass like that for a daughter. 

There were five joyous households in Broek that night. 

The boys were back safe and sound; and they found all 
well at home. Even the sick lady at neighbor Van Stoepel's 
was out of danger. 

[230] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

But the next morning! Ah, how stupidly schoolbells will 
ding-dong! ding-dong, when one is tired. 

Ludwig was sure he had never listened to anything so 
odious. Even Peter felt pathetic on the occasion. Carl said 
it was a shame for a fellow to have to turn out when his bones 
were splitting and Jacob soberly bade Ben "Goot Pye!" 
and walked off with his satchel as if it weighed a hundred 
pounds. 



[231] 



XXXII 
THE CRISIS 

WHILE the boys are nursing their fatigue, we will 
take a peep into the Brinker cottage. 
Can it be that Gretel and her mother have not 
stirred since we saw them last? That the sick man upon the 
bed has not even turned over? It was four days ago and there 
is the sad group just as it was before. No, not precisely the 
same, for Raff Brinker is paler; his fever is gone, though he 
knows nothing of what is passing. Then they were alone in 
the bare, clean room. Now there is another group in an oppo- 
site corner. 

Dr. Boekman is there, talking in a low tone with a stout 
young man who listens intently. The stout young man is his 
student and assistant. Hans is there also. He stands near the 
window respectfully waiting until he shall be accosted. 

'You see, Vollenhoven," said Dr. Boekman, "it is a clear 
case of and here the doctor went off into a queer jumble of 
Latin and Dutch that I cannot conveniently translate. 

After awhile, as Vollenhoven looked at him rather blankly, 
the learned man condescended to speak to him in simpler 
phrase. 

'It is probably like Rip Donderdunck's case," he ex- 
claimed, in a low, mumbling tone. "He fell from the top of 
Voppelploot's windmill. After the accident the man was 

[232] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

stupid, and finally became idiotic. In time he lay helpless like 
yon fellow on the bed, moaned, too, like him, and kept con- 
stantly lifting his hand to his head. My learned friend Von 
Choppem performed an operation upon this Donderdunck, 
and discovered under the skull a small dark sac which pressed 
upon the brain. This had been the cause of the trouble. My 
friend Von Choppem removed it a splendid operation! You 
see, according to Celsus" and here the doctor again went 
off into Latin. 

"Did the man live?" asked the assistant, respectfully. 

Dr. Boekman scowled. "That is of no consequence. I 
believe he died, but why not fix your mind on the grand fea- 
tures of the case? Consider a moment how" and he plunged 
into Latin mysteries more deeply than ever. 

"But, mynheer," gently persisted the student, who knew 
that the doctor would not rise to the surface for hours unless 
pulled at once from his favorite depths. "Mynheer, you have 
other engagements to-day three legs in Amsterdam, you re- 
member, and an eye in Broek, and that tumor up the canal." 

"The tumor can wait," said the doctor reflectively. 'That 
is another beautiful case a beautiful case! The woman has 
not lifted her head from her shoulder for two months mag- 
nificent tumor, sir!" 

The doctor by this time was speaking aloud. He had quite 
forgotten where he was. 

Vollenhoven made another attempt. 

"This poor fellow on the bed, mynheer. Do you think 
you can save him?" 

"Ah, indeed, certainly," stammered the doctor, suddenly 

[233] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

perceiving that he had been talking rather off the point 
"certainly, that is I hope so 

"If any one in Holland can, mynheer," murmured the 
assistant with honest bluntness- "it is yourself." 

The doctor looked displeased growled out a tender re- 
quest for the student to talk less, and beckoned Hans to draw 
near. 

This strange man had a great horror of speaking to women, 
especially on surgical matters. "One can never tell," he said, 
"what moment the creatures will scream or faint." Therefore 
he explained Raff Brinker's case to Hans and told him what he 
believed should be done to save the patient. 

Hans listened attentively, growing red and pale by turns, 
and throwing quick, anxious glances toward the bed. 

'It may kill the father did you say, mynheer?" he ex- 
claimed at last, in a trembling whisper. 

'It may, my boy. But I have a strong belief that it will 
cure and not kill. Ah! if boys were not such dunces, I could 
lay the whole matter before you, but it would be of no use." 

Hans looked blank at this compliment. 

'It would be of no use," repeated Doctor Boekman indig- 
nantly, "a great operation is proposed but one might as well 
do it with a hatchet. The only question asked is ' will it kill? ' 

'The question is everything to us, mynheer," said Hans, 
with tearful dignity. 

Doctor Boekman looked at him in sudden dismay. 

"Ah! exactly so. You are right, boy, I am a fool. Good 
boy! One does not wish one's father killed of course not. 
I am a fool." 

[234] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

"Will lie die, mynheer, if this sickness goes on?" 

"Humph! this is no new illness. The same thing growing 
worse every instant pressure on the brain will take him off 
soon like that," said the doctor, snapping his fingers. 

"And the operation may save him," pursued Hans; "how 
soon, mynheer, can we know?" 

Doctor Boekman grew impatient. 

"In a day, perhaps, an hour. Talk with your mother, 
boy, and let her decide. My time is short." 

Hans approached his mother; at first, when she looked up 
at him, he could not utter a syllable; then turning his eyes 
away he said in a firm voice: 

"I must speak with the mother alone." 

Quick little Gretel, who could not quite understand what 
was passing, threw rather an indignant look at Hans, and 
walked away. 

" Come back, Gretel, and sit down," said Hans sorrowfully. 

She obeyed. 

Dame Brinker and her boy stood by the window while the 
Doctor and his assistant, bending over the bedside, conversed 
together in a low tone. There was no danger of disturbing the 
patient. He appeared like one blind and deaf. Only his faint, 
piteous moans showed him to be a living man. Hans was talk- 
ing earnestly, and in a low voice, for he did not wish his sister 
to hear. 

With dry, parted lips, Dame Brinker leaned toward him 
searching his face, as if suspecting a meaning beyond his 
words. Once she gave a quick, frightened sob that made Gretel 

start, but, after that, listened calmly. 

[235] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

When Hans ceased to speak, his mother turned, gave one 
long, agonized look at her husband, lying there so pale and 
unconscious, and threw herself on her knees, beside the bed. 

Poor little Gretel! what did all this mean? She looked 
with questioning eyes at Hans; he was standing, but his head 
was bent as if in prayer; at the Doctor, he was gently feeling 
her father's head, and looked like one examining some curious 
stone; at the assistant; the man coughed and turned away; 
at her mother. Ah! little Gretel, that was the best you could 
do to kneel beside her and twine your warm, young arms 
about her neck to weep and implore God to listen. 

When the mother arose, Doctor Boekman, with a show of 
trouble in his eyes, asked gruffly, "well, jufvrouw, shall it be 
done?" 

'Will it pain him, mynheer?" she asked in a trembling 
voice. 

'I cannot say. Probably not. Shall it be done?" 

"It may cure him, you said and mynheer, did you tell 
my boy that perhaps perhaps" she could not finish. 

'Yes, jufvrouw, I said the patient might sink under the 
operation but we will hope it may prove otherwise " (he 
looked at his watch. The assistant moved impatiently toward 
the window). "Come, jufvrouw, time presses. Yes, or no?" 

Hans wound his arm about his mother. It was not his 
usual way. He even leaned his head against her shoulder. 

'The meester awaits an answer," he whispered. 

Dame Brinker had long been the head of her house in every 
sense Many a time she had been very stern with Hans, ruling 
him with a strong hand, and rejoicing in her motherly disci- 

[236] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

pline now she felt so weak, so helpless. It was something to 
feel the firm embrace. There was strength even in the touch 
of that yellow hair. 

She turned to her boy imploringly. 

"Oh, Hans! What shall I say?" 

"Say what God tells thee, mother," answered Hans, bow- 
ing his head. 

One quick, questioning prayer to Heaven rose from the 
mother's heart. The answer came. 

She turned toward Doctor Boekman. 

"It is right, mynheer. I consent." 

"Humph!" grunted the doctor, as if to say you've been 
long enough about it. Then he conferred a moment with his 
assistant, who listened with great outward deference but was 
inwardly rejoicing at the grand joke he would have to tell his 
fellow students. He had actually seen a tear in "old Boek- 
man's" eye. 

Meanwhile Gretel looked on in trembling silence but when 
she saw the doctor open a leather case, and take out one sharp, 
gleaming instrument after another, she sprang forward. 

"Oh, mother the poor father meant no wrong. Are they 
going to murder him? " 

"I do not know, child," screamed Dame Brinker looking 
fiercely at Gretel. "I DO NOT KNOW." 

'This will not do, jufvrouw," said Dr. Boekman sternly, 
and at the same time he cast a quick, penetrating look at Hans 
"you and the girl must leave the room. The boy may stay." 

Dame Brinker drew herself up in an instant. Her eyes 

flashed. Her whole countenance was changed. She looked 

[237] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

like one who had never wept, never felt a moment's weakness. 
Her voice was low but decided. 'I stay with my husband, 
mynheer." 

Dr. Boekman looked astonished. His orders were seldom 
disregarded in this style. For an instant his eye met hers. 

'You may remain, jufvrouw," he said in an altered voice. 

Gretel had already disappeared. 

In one corner of the cottage was a small closet where her 
rough, box-like bed was fastened against the wall : none would 
think of the trembling little creature crouching there in the 
dark. 

Dr. Boekman took off his heavy coat; he filled an earthen 
basin with water and placed it near the bed. Then turning 
to Hans he asked: 

"Can I depend upon you, boy?" 

'You can, mynheer." 

"I believe you. Stand at the head, here your mother 
may sit at your right so," and he placed a chair near 
the cot. 

: ' Remember, jufvrouw, there must be no cries, no fainting." 

Dame Brinker answered him with a look. 

He was satisfied. 

"Now, Vollenhoven." 

Oh ! that case with the terrible instruments. The assistant 
lifted them. Gretel who had been peering, with brimming 
eyes, through the crack of the closet door, could remain silent 
no longer. 

She rushed frantically across the apartment, seized her 
hood, and ran from the cottage. 

[238] 



XXXIII 
GRETEL AND HILDA 

IT was recess-hour. At the first stroke of the school-house 
bell the canal seemed to give a tremendous shout, and 
grow suddenly alive with boys and girls. The sly thing, 
shining so quietly under the noonday sun, was a kaleidoscope 
at heart, and only needed a shake from that great clapper to 
start it into dazzling changes. 

Dozens of gaily clad children were skating in and out 
among each other, and all their pent-up merriment of the 
morning was relieving itself in song and shout and laughter. 
There was nothing to check the flow of frolic. Not a thought 
of school-books came out with them into the sunshine. Latin, 
Arithmetic, Grammar, all were locked up for an hour in the 
dingy school-room. The teacher might be a noun if he wished, 
and a proper one at that, but they meant to enjoy themselves. 
As long as the skating was as perfect as this, it made no differ- 
ence whether Holland were on the North Pole or the Equator; 
and as for Philosophy, how could they bother themselves 
about inertia and gravitation and such things, when it was as 
much as they could do to keep from getting knocked over in 
the commotion? 

In the height of the fun, one of the children called out: 

"What is that?" 

"What? Where?" cried a dozen voices. 

[239] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

"Why don't you see? That dark thing over there by the 
idiot's cottage." 

'I don't see anything," said one. 

"I do," shouted another, "it's a dog!" 

"Where's any dog?" put in a squeaky voice that we have 
heard before ;< it's no such thing it's a heap of rags." 

"Pooh! Voost," retorted another gruffly, ; ' that's about 
as near the fact as you ever get; it's the goose-girl, Gretel, look- 
ing for rats." 

"Well, what of it?" squeaked Voost, "isn't she a bundle 
of rags, I'd like to know?' 

"Ha! ha! Pretty good for you, Voost ! You'll get a medal 
for wit yet, if you keep on." 

"You'd get something else if her brother Hans were here. 
I'll warrant you would!" said a muffled-up little fellow, with 
a cold in his head. 

As Hans was not there, Voost could afford to scout the 
insinuation. 

"Who cares for him, little sneezer? I'd fight a dozen like 
him any day, and you in the bargain." 

"You would! would you? I'd like to catch you at it," 
and, by way of proving his words, the sneezer skated off at 
the top of his speed. 

Just then a general chase after three of the biggest boys 
of the school was proposed - and friend and foe, frolicsome 
as ever, were soon united in a common cause. 

Only one of all that happy throng remembered the dark 
little form by the idiot's cottage. Poor, frightened Gretel! 
She was not thinking of them, though their merry laughter 

[240] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

floated lightly toward her, making her feel like one in a 
dream. 

How loud the moans were behind the darkened window 
What if those strange men were really killing her father! 

The thought made her spring to her feet with a cry of horror ! 

"Ah! no," she sobbed, sinking upon the frozen mound of 
earth where she had been sitting, "mother is there, and Hans. 
They will care for him. But how pale they were. And even 
Hans was crying! 

'Why did the cross old meester keep him, and send me 
away?" she thought, "I could have clung to the mother and 
kissed her. That always makes her stroke my hair and speak 
gentle, even after she has scolded me! How quiet it is now! 
Oh, if the father should die, and Hans, and the mother, what 
would I do?" and Gretel, shivering with cold, buried her face 
in her arms, and cried as if her heart would break. 

The poor child had been tasked beyond her strength during 
the past four days. Through all, she had been her mother's 
willing little hand-maiden, soothing, helping and cheering the 
half -widowed woman by day, and watching and praying beside 
her all the long night. She knew that something terrible and 
mysterious was taking place at this moment, something that 
had been too terrible and mysterious for even kind, good Hans 
to tell. 

Then new thoughts came. Why had not Hans told her? 
It was a shame. It was her father as well as his. She was no 
baby. She had once taken a sharp knife from the father's 
hand. She had even drawn him away from the mother on 
that awful night when Hans, big as he was, could not help her. 

[241] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

Why then must she be treated like one who could do nothing? 
Oh, how very still it was how bitter, bitter cold! If Annie 
Bouman had only stayed home instead of going to Amsterdam 
it wouldn't be so lonely. How cold her feet were growing 
was it the moaning that made her feel as if she were floating 
in the air? 

This would not do the mother might need her help at any 
moment. 

Rousing herself with an effort, Gretel sat upright, rubbing 
her eyes and wondering wondering that the sky was so 
bright and blue wondering at the stillness in the cottage 
more than all, at the laughter rising and falling in the distance. 

Soon she sank down again, the strange medley of thought 
growing more and more confused in her bewildered brain. 

What a strange lip the meester had ! How the stork's nest 
upon the roof seemed to rustle and whisper down to her! 
How bright those knives were, in the leathern case brighter 
perhaps than the silver skates. If she had but worn her new 
jacket she would not shiver so. The new jacket was pretty 
the only pretty thing she had ever worn. God had taken care 
of her father so long, He would do it still, if those two men 
would but go away. Ah, now the meesters were on the roof, 
they were clambering to the top no it was her mother and 
Hans, or the storks it was so dark, who could tell? and the 
mound rocking, swinging in that strange way. How sweetly 
the birds were singing. They must be winter birds, for the 
air was thick with icicles not one bird but twenty. "Oh! 
hear them, mother wake me, mother, for the race I am so 
tired with crying, and crying 

[242] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

A firm hand was laid upon her shoulder. 

"Get up, little girl!" cried a kind voice. "This will not 
do for you to lie here and freeze." 

Gretel slowly raised her head. She was so sleepy that it 
seemed nothing strange to her that Hilda van Gleck should be 
leaning over her, looking with kind, beautiful eyes into her 
face. She had often dreamed it before. 

But she had never dreamed that Hilda was shaking her 
roughly, almost dragging her by main force never dreamed 
that she heard her saying, "Gretel! Gretel Brinker! you must 
wake!" 

This was real. Gretel looked up. Still the lovely delicate 
young lady was shaking, rubbing, fairly pounding her. It 
must be a dream. No, there was the cottage and the stork's 
nest, and the meester's coach by the canal. She could see 
them now quite plainly. Her hands were tingling, her feet 
throbbing Hilda was forcing her to walk. 

At last Gretel began to feel like herself again. 

"I have been asleep," she faltered, rubbing her eyes with 
both hands and looking very much ashamed. 

'Yes, indeed, entirely too much asleep," laughed Hilda, 
whose lips were very pale, "but you are well enough now 
lean upon me, Gretel; there, keep moving you will soon be 
warm enough to go by the fire now let me take you into the 
cottage." 

"Oh, no! no! no! jufvrouw, not in there! the meester is 
there. He sent me away!" 

Hilda was puzzled, but she wisely forebore to ask at present 

for an explanation. "Very well, Gretel try to walk faster 

[243] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

I saw you upon the mound some time ago; but I thought you 
were playing that is right keep moving." 

All this time the kind-hearted girl had been forcing Gretel 
to walk up and down, supporting her with one arm, and, with 
the other, striving as well as she could to take off her own warm 
sacque. 

Suddenly Gretel suspected her intention. 

" Oh, juf vrouw, jufvrouw ! " she cried imploringly. " Please 
never think of such a thing as that oh! please keep it on, I 
am burning all over, jufvrouw! I really am burning not burn- 
ing exactly but pins and needles pricking all over me oh! 
jufvrouw, don't." 

The poor child's dismay was so genuine that Hilda hastened 
to reassure her. 

' Very well, Gretel, move your arms then so. Why your 
cheeks are as pink as roses, already. I think the meester 
would let you in now he certainly would is your father so 
very ill?" 

"Ah, jufvrouw," cried Gretel, weeping afresh, "he is dying, 
I think. There are two meesters in with him at this moment, 
and the mother has scarce spoken to-day. Can you hear him 
moan, jufvrouw?" she added, with sudden terror, "the air 
buzzes so I cannot hear. He may be dead! oh, I do wish I 
could hear him!" 

Hilda listened. The cottage was very near, but not a 
sound could be heard. 

Something told her that Gretel was right. She ran to the 
window. 

'You cannot see there, my lady," sobbed Gretel, eagerly, 

[ 244 ] ' 




D.MSK 



Gretel's face was pressed to the window. " Can you see anything ? ' 

whispered Hilda. 



THE SILVER SKATES 

"the mother has oiled paper hanging inside. But at the other 
one, in the south end of the cottage, you can look in where 
the paper is torn." 

Hilda in her anxiety ran round, past the corner where the 
low roof was fringed with its loosened thatch. 

A sudden thought checked her. 

"It is not right for me to peep into another's house in this 
way," she said to herself then softly calling to Gretel, she 
added, in a whisper, 'You may look perhaps he is only 
sleeping." 

Gretel tried to walk briskly toward the spot, but her limbs 
were trembling. Hilda hastened to her support. 

"You are sick, yourself, I fear," she said kindly. 

"No, not sick, jufvrouw but my heart cries all the time 
now, even when my eyes are as dry as yours why ! Jufvrouw, 
your eyes are not dry! Are you crying for us? Oh, 
jufvrouw if God sees you! Oh! I know father will get 
better now " and the little creature, even while reaching 
to look through the tiny window, kissed Hilda's hand again 
and again. 

The sash was sadly patched and broken, a torn piece of 
paper hung half way down across it. Gretel's face was pressed 
to the window. 

" Can you see anything? " whispered Hilda at last. 
'Yes the father lies very still, his head is bandaged and 
all their eyes are fastened upon him. Oh, jufvrouw!" almost 
screamed Gretel, as she started back, and by a quick, dex- 
terous movement shook off her heavy wooden shoes. "I must 

go in to my mother! Will you come with me?" 

[245] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

; 'Not now, the bell is ringing, I shall come again soon. 
Good-bye!" 

Gretel scarce heard the words. She remembered for many 
n day afterward the bright, pitying smile on Hilda's face as 
she turned away. 



[246] 



XXXIV 

THE AWAKENING 

A" angel could not have entered the cottage more noise- 
lessly. Gretel, not daring to look at anyone, slid softly 
to her mother's side. 

The room was very still. She could hear the old doctor 
breathe. She could almost hear the sparks as they fell into 
the ashes on the hearth. The mother's hand was very cold, 
but a burning spot glowed on her cheek; and her eyes were 
like a deer's so bright, so sad, so eager. 

At last there was a movement upon the bed, very slight, 
but enough to cause them all to start; Dr. Boekman leaned 
eagerly forward. 

Another movement. The large hand, so white and soft 
for a poor man's hand, twitched then raised itself steadily 
toward the forehead. 

It felt the bandage, not in a restless, crazy way, but with 
a questioning movement, that caused even Dr. Boekman to 
hold his breath. Then the eyes opened slowly. 

" Steady ! steady ! " said a voice that sounded very strangely 
to Gretel. "Shift that mat higher, boys! now throw on the 
clay. The waters are rising fast no time to ' : 

Dame Brinker sprang forward like a young panther. 

She seized his hands, and leaning over him, cried "Raff! 
Raff, boy, speak to me!" 

"Is it you, Meitje?" he asked faintly "I have been 
asleep, hurt, I think where is little Hans?' 3 

[247] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

'Here I am, father!" shouted Hans half mad with joy. 
But the doctor held him back. 

"He knows us!" screamed Dame Brinker. "Great God! 
he knows us! Gretel! Gretel! come, see your father!" 

In vain Dr. Boekman commanded 'silence!' and tried 
to force them from the bedside. He could not keep them 
off. 

Hans and his mother laughed and cried together, as they 
hung over the newly -awakened man. Gretel made no sound, 
but gazed at them all with glad, startled eyes. Her father was 
speaking in a faint voice. 

'Is the baby asleep, Meitje?" 

"The baby!" echoed Dame Brinker. "Oh, Gretel! that 
is you! And he calls Hans, 'little Hans.' Ten years asleep! 
Oh, mynheer, you have saved us all. He has known nothing 
for ten years! Children, why don't you thank the meester?" 

The good woman was beside herself with joy. Dr. Boek- 
man said nothing; but as his eye met hers, he pointed upward. 
She understood. So did Hans and Gretel. 

With one accord they knelt by the cot, side by side. Dame 
Brinker felt for her husband's hand even while she was pray- 
ing. Dr. Boekman's head was bowed; the assistant stood by 
the hearth with his back toward them. 

'Why do you pray?" murmured the father, looking feebly 
from the bed, as they rose. "Is it God's day?" 

It was not Sunday; but his vrouw bowed her head she 
could not speak. 

'Then we should have a chapter," said Raff Brinker, 
speaking slowly, and with difficulty. "I do not know how it is. 

[248] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

I am very, very weak. Mayhap the minister will read to us." 

Gretel lifted the big Dutch Bible from its carved shelf. 
Dr. Boekman, rather dismayed at being called a minister, 
coughed and handed the Volume to his assistant. 

"Read," he muttered, "these people must be kept quiet 
or the man will die yet." 

When the chapter was finished, Dame Brinker motioned 
mysteriously to the rest by way of telling them that her hus- 
band was asleep. 

"Now, jufvrouw," said the doctor in a subdued tone, as 
he drew on his thick woolen mittens, "there must be perfect 
quiet. You understand. This is truly a most remarkable 
case. I shall come again to-morrow. Give the patient no 
food to-day," and, bowing hastily, he left the cottage, followed 
by his assistant. 

His grand coach was not far away; the driver had kept 
the horses moving slowly up and down by the canal nearly all 
the time the doctor had been in the cottage. 

Hans went out also. 

"May God bless you, mynheer!" he said, blushing and 
trembling, "I can never repay you, but if " 

"Yes, you can," interrupted the doctor, crossly. 'You 
can use your wits when the patient wakes again. This clacking 
and snivelling is enough to kill a well man, let alone one lying 
on the edge of his grave. If you want your father to get well, 
keep 'em quiet." 

So saying, Doctor Boekman, without another word, 
stalked off to meet his coach, leaving Hans standing there 
with eyes and mouth wide open. 

[249] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

Hilda was reprimanded severely that day for returning 
late to school after recess, and for imperfect recitations. 

She had remained near the cottage until she heard Dame 
Brinker laugh, until she had heard Hans say, "here I am, 
father!" and then she had gone back to her lessons. What 
wonder that she missed them ! How could she get a long string 
of Latin verbs by heart when her heart did not care a fig for 
them, but would keep saying to itself, "Oh, I am so glad! I 
am so glad!" 



[250] 



XXXV 

BONES AND TONGUES 

BONES are strange things. One would suppose that 
they knew nothing at all about school affairs, but 
they do. Even Jacob Foot's bones, buried as they 
were in flesh, were sharp in the matter of study hours. 

Early on the morning of his return they ached through 
and through, giving Jacob a twinge at every stroke of the 
school-bell as if to say, "stop that clapper! There's trouble 
in it." After school, on the contrary, they were quiet and 
comfortable; in fact, seemed to be taking a nap among their 
cushions. 

The other boys' bones behaved in a similar manner but 
that is not so remarkable. Being nearer the daylight than 
Jacob's, they might be expected to be more learned in the 
ways of the world. Master Lud wig's, especially, were like 
beauty, only skin deep; they were the most knowing bones 
you ever heard of. Just put before him ever so quietly a 
grammar-book with a long lesson marked in it, and imme- 
diately the sly bone over his eyes would set up such an aching ! 
Request him to go to the garret for your footstove instantly 
the bones would remind him that he was "too tired." Ask 
him to go to the confectioner's, a mile away, and presto! not 
a bone would remember that it ever had been used before. 

Bearing all this in mind you will not wonder when I tell 

[251] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

you that our five boys were among the happiest of the happy 
throng pouring forth from the school-house that day. 

Peter was in excellent spirits. He had heard through 
Hilda of Dame Brinker's laugh and of Hans' joyous words, 
and he needed no further proof that Raff Brinker was a cured 
man. In fact, the news had gone forth in every direction, 
for miles around. Persons who had never before cared for 
the Brinkers, or even mentioned them, except with a con- 
temptuous sneer or a shrug of pretended pity, now became 
singularly familiar with every point of their history. There 
was no end to the number of ridiculous stories that were fly- 
ing about. 

Hilda, in the excitement of the moment, had stopped to 
exchange a word with the doctor's coachman, as he stood by 
the horses, pommelling his chest and clapping his hands. 
Her kind heart was overflowing. She could not help pausing 
to tell the cold, tired-looking man that she thought the doc- 
tor would be out soon; she even hinted to him that she sus- 
pected only suspected that a wonderful cure had been per- 
formed an idiot brought to his senses. Nay, she was sure 
of it for she had heard his widow laugh no, not his widow, 
of course, but his wife for the man was as much alive as 
anybody, and, for all she knew, sitting up and talking like a 
lawyer. 

All this was very indiscreet. Hilda, in an impenitent sort 
of way, felt it to be so. 

But it is always so delightful to impart pleasant or sur- 
prising news! 

She went tripping along by the canal, quite resolved to 

[252] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

repeat the sin, ad infinitum, and tell nearly every girl and boy 
in the school. 

Meantime Janzoon Kolp came skating by. Of course in 
two seconds he was striking slippery attitudes, and shouting 
saucy things to the coachman, who stared at him in indolent 
disdain. 

This, to Janzoon, was equivalent to an invitation to draw 
nearer. The coachman was now upon his box gathering up 
the reins and grumbling at his horses. 

Janzoon accosted him. 

"I say! What's going on at the idiot's cottage? Is your 
boss in there?" 

Coachman nodded mysteriously. 

'Whew!" whistled Janzoon, drawing closer. "Old Brinker 
dead?" 

The driver grew big with importance, and silent in pro- 
portion. 

"See here, old pincushion, I'd run home yonder and get 
you a chunk of gingerbread if I thought you could open your 
mouth." 

Old pincushion was human long hours of waiting had 
made him ravenously hungry. At Janzoon's hint, his coun- 
tenance showed signs of a collapse. 

'That's right, old fellow," pursued his tempter, "hurry 
up what news? old Brinker dead?" 

"No CURED! got his wits," said the coachman, shooting 
forth his words, one at a time, like so many bullets. 

Like bullets (figuratively speaking) they hit Janzoon Kolp. 

He jumped as if he had been shot. 

[253] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

"Goede Gunst! you don't say so!" 

The man pressed his lips together, and looked significantly 
toward Master Kolp's shabby residence. 

Just then Janzoon saw a group of boys in the distance. 
Hailing them in a rowdy style, common to boys of his stamp 
all over the world, whether in Africa, Japan, Amsterdam or 
Paris he scampered toward them, forgetting coachman, 
gingerbread, everything but the wonderful news. 

Therefore by sundown it was well known throughout the 
neighboring country that Dr. Boekman chancing to stop at 
the cottage had given the idiot Brinker a tremendous dose of 
medicine, as brown as gingerbread. It had taken six men to 
hold him while it was poured down. The idiot had imme- 
diately sprung to his feet, in full possession of all his faculties 
knocked over the doctor, or thrashed him (there w r as ad- 
mitted to be a slight uncertainty as to which of these penalties 
was inflicted), then sat down and addressed him for all the 
world like a lawyer. After that he had turned and spoken 
beautifully to his wife and children. Dame Brinker had 
laughed herself into violent hysterics. Hans had said, "Here 
I am, father! your own dear son," and Gretel had said, "here 
I am, father, your own dear Gretel !" and the doctor had after- 
ward been seen leaning back in his carriage looking just as 
white as a corpse. 



[254] 



XXXVI 
A NEW ALARM 

"IT "IT "THEN Dr. Boekman called the next day at the 

%/ %/ Brinker cottage, he could not help noticing the 

cheerful, comfortable aspect of the place. An 

atmosphere of happiness breathed upon him as he opened 

the door. Dame Brinker sat complacently knitting beside 

the bed, her husband was enjoying a tranquil slumber, and 

Gretel was noiselessly kneading rye bread on the table in 

the corner. 

The doctor did not remain long. He asked a few simple 
questions, appeared satisfied with the answers, and after feel- 
ing his patient's pulse, said "Ah, very weak yet, jufvrouw; 
very weak, indeed. He must have nourishment. You may 
begin to feed the patient, ahem! not too much, but what you 
do give him let it be strong and of the best." 

"Black bread, we have, mynheer, and porridge," replied 
Dame Brinker, cheerily, "they have always agreed with him 
well." 

'Tut! tut!" said the doctor frowning, "nothing of the 
kind. He must have the juice of fresh meat, white bread, 
dried and toasted, good Malaga wine, and ahem! The man 
looks cold give him more covering, something light and 
warm. Where is the boy?" 

"Hans, mynheer, has gone into Broek to look for work. 

He will be back soon. Will the meester please be seated?" 

[255] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

Whether the hard polished stool offered by Dame Brinker 
did not look particularly tempting, or whether the dame her- 
self frightened him, partly because she was a w r oman, and 
partly because an anxious, distressed look had suddenly ap- 
peared in her face, I cannot say. Certain it is that our eccen- 
tric doctor looked hurriedly about him, muttered something 
about 'extraordinary case,' bowed, and disappeared, before 
Dame Brinker had time to say another word. 

Strange that the visit of their good benefactor should 
have left a cloud, yet so it was. Gretel frowned, an anxious 
childish frown, and kneaded the bread-dough violently, with- 
out looking up. Dame Brinker hurried to her husband's bed- 
side, leaned over him, and fell into silent but passionate 
weeping. 

In a moment Hans entered. 

'Why, mother," he whispered in alarm, "what ails thee? 
Is the father worse?" 

She turned her quivering face toward him, making no 
attempt to conceal her distress. 

'Yes. He is starving perishing. The meester said it." 
Hans turned pale. 

'What does this mean, mother? We must feed him at 
once. Here, Gretel, give me the porridge." 

'Nay!" cried his mother, distractedly, yet without rais- 
ing her voice, "it may kill him. Our poor fare is too heavy 
for him. Oh, Hans, he will die the father will die if we use 
him this way. He must have meat, and sweet wine, and a 
dek-bed. Oh, what shall I do? what shall I do?" she sobbed, 
wringing her hands. "There is not a stiver in the house." 

[256] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

Gretel pouted; it was the only way she could express 
sympathy just then; her tears fell one by one into the 
dough. 

"Did the meester say he must have these things, mother?" 
asked Hans. 

"Yes, he did. 5 " 

* Well, mother, don't cry, he shall have them; I shall bring 
meat and wine before night. Take the cover from my bed, 
I can sleep in the straw." 

'Yes, Hans; but it is heavy, scant as it is. The meester 
said he must have something light and warm. He will perish. 
Our peat is giving out, Hans. The father has wasted it sorely, 
throwing it on when I was not looking, dear man." 

"Never mind, mother, " whispered Hans, cheerfully. 
'We can cut down the willow tree and burn it, if need be; 
but I'll bring home something to-night. There must be work 
in Amsterdam, though there's none in Broek. Never fear, 
mother; the worst trouble of all is past. We can brave any- 
thing now that the father is himself again." 

"Aye!" sobbed Dame Brinker, hastily drying her eyes, 
"that is true indeed." 

"Of course it is. Look at him, mother, how softly he 
sleeps. Do you think God would let him starve, just after 
giving him back to us ? Why, mother, I'm as sure of getting 
all the father needs as if my pocket was bursting with gold. 
There, now, don't fret." And hurriedly kissing her, Hans 
caught up his skates and slipped from the cottage. 

Poor Hans! Disappointed in his morning's errand, half 
sickened with this new trouble, he wore a brave look, and 

[257] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

tried to whistle as he tramped resolutely off with the firm 
intention of mending matters. 

Want had never before pressed as sorely upon the Brinker 
family. Their stock of peat was nearly exhausted, and all 
the flour in the cottage was in Gretel's dough. They had 
scarcely cared to eat during the past few days scarcely real- 
ized their condition. Dame Brinker had felt so sure that she 
and the children could earn money before the worst came, 
that she had given herself up to the joy of her husband's 
recovery. She had not even told Hans that the few pieces of 
silver in the old mitten were quite gone. 

Hans reproached himself, now, that he had not hailed 
the doctor when he saw him enter his coach and drive rapidly 
away in the direction of Amsterdam. 

' * Perhaps there is some mistake, ' ' he thought. ' ' The meester 
surely would have known that meat and sweet wine were not 
at our command; and yet the father looks very weak he 
certainly does. I must get work. If Mynheer van Holp were 
back from Rotterdam I could get plenty to do. But Master 
Peter told me to let him know if he could do aught to 
serve us. I shall go to him at once. Oh, if it were but 
summer!" 

All this time Hans was hastening towards the canal. Soon 
his skates were on, and he was skimming rapidly toward the 
residence of Mynheer van Holp. 

'The father must have meat and wine at once," he mut- 
tered, "but how can I earn the money in time to buy them 
to-day? There is no other way but to go, as I promised, to 
Master Peter. What would a gift of meat and wine be to 

[258] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

him? When the father is once fed, I can rush down to Amster- 
dam and earn the morrow's supply." 

Then came other thoughts thoughts that made his heart 
thump heavily and his cheeks burn with a new shame "It 
is begging, to say the least. Not one of the Brinkers has ever 
been a beggar. Shall I be the first? Shall my poor father 
just coming back into life learn that his family have asked 
for charity he, always so wise and thrifty? No," cried Hans 
aloud, "better a thousand times to part with the watch." 

"I can at least borrow money on it, in Amsterdam!" he 
thought, turning around, 'That will be no disgrace. I can 
find work at once, and get it back again. Nay, perhaps I can 
even speak to the father about it!" 

This last thought almost made the lad dance for joy. 
Why not, indeed, speak to the father? He was a rational 
being now. "He may wake," thought Hans, "quite bright 
and rested may tell us the watch is of no consequence, to 
sell it, of course! Hoezza!" and Hans almost flew over the ice. 

A few moments more and the skates were again swinging 
from his arm. He was running towards the cottage. 

His mother met him at the door. 

"Oh, Hans!" she cried, her face radiant with joy, "the 
young lady has been here with her maid. She brought every- 
thing meat, jelly, wine and bread a whole basketful ! Then 
the meester sent a man from town with more wine, and a 
fine bed and blankets for the father. Oh ! he will get well now. 
God bless them!" 

" God bless them ! " echoed Hans, and for the first time that 

day his eyes filled with tears. 

[259] 



XXXVII 
THE FATHER'S RETURN 

THAT evening Raff Brinker felt so much better that he 
insisted upon sitting up awhile on the rough, high- 
backed chair by the fire. For a few moments there 
was quite a commotion in the little cottage. Hans was all- 
important on the occasion, for his father was a heavy man, 
and needed something firm to lean upon. The dame, though 
none of your fragile ladies, was in such a state of alarm and 
excitement at the bold step they were taking in lifting him 
without the meester's orders, that she came near pulling her 
husband over, even while she believed herself to be his main 
prop and support. 

"Steady, vrouw, steady," panted Raff, "have I grown old 
and feeble, or is it the fever makes me thus helpless?" 

'Hear the man!" laughed Dame Brinker, ''talking like 
any other Christian. Why you're weak from the fever, Raff. 
Here's the chair, all fixed snug and warm; now, sit thee down 
-hi-di-didy there we are!" 

With these words, Dame Brinker let her half of the bur- 
den settle slowly into the chair. Hans prudently did the same. 

Meanwhile Gretel flew about generally, bringing every 
possible thing to her mother to tuck behind the father's back 
and spread over his knees. Then she twitched the carved 
bench under his feet, and Hans kicked the fire to make it 
brighter. 

[260] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

The father was "sitting up" at last. What wonder that 
he looked about him like one bewildered? "Little Hans" 
had just been almost carrying him. "The baby" was over 
four feet long, and was demurely brushing up the hearth with 
a bundle of willow wisps. Meitje, the vrouw, winsome and 
fair as ever, had gained at least fifty pounds in what seemed 
to him a few hours. She also had some new lines in her face 
that puzzled him. The only familiar things in the room were 
the pine table that he had made before he was married, the 
Bible upon the shelf, and the cupboard in the corner. 

Ah! Raff Brinker, it was only natural that your eyes 
should fill with hot tears even while looking at the joyful 
faces of your loved ones. Ten years dropped from a man's 
life are no small loss; ten years of manhood, of household 
happiness and care; ten years of honest labor, of conscious 
enjoyment of sunshine and outdoor beauty; ten years of 
grateful life One day looking forward to all this; the next, 
waking to find them passed, and a blank. What wonder the 
scalding tears dropped one by one upon your cheek! 

Tender little Gretel ! The prayer of her life was answered 
through those tears. She loved her father from that moment. 
Hans and his mother glanced silently at each other when they 
saw her spring towards him, and throw her arms about his 
neck. 

"Father, dear father," she whispered, pressing her cheek 
close to his, "don't cry. We are all here." 

"God bless thee," sobbed Raff, kissing her again and 
again, "I had forgotten that!" 

Soon he looked up again, and spoke in a cheerful voice: 

[261 ] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

"I should know her, vrouw," he said, holding the sweet young 
face between his hands, and gazing at it as though he were 
watching it grow. 'I should know her. The same blue eyes, 
and the lips, and, ah me! the little song she could sing almost 
before she could stand. But that was long ago," he added, 
with a sigh, still looking at her dreamily, "long ago, it's all 
gone now." 

"Not so, indeed," cried Dame Brinker, eagerly. : 'Do you 
think I would let her forget it? Gretel, child, sing the old 
song thou hast known so long!" 

Raff Brinker's hands fell wearily and his eyes closed, but 
it was something to see the smile playing about his mouth, 
as Gretel's voice floated about him like an incense. 

It was a simple air; she had never known the words. 

With loving instinct she softened every note, until Raff 
almost fancied that his two-year-old baby was once more 
beside him. 

As soon as the song was finished Hans mounted a wooden 
stool and began to rummage in the cupboard. 

'Have a care, Hans," said Dame Brinker, who through 

all her poverty was ever a tidy housewife. "Have a care, the 

wine is there at your right, and the white bread beyond it." 

'Never fear, mother," answered Hans, reaching far back 

on an upper shelf, "I shall do no mischief." 

Jumping down, he walked toward his father, and placed an 
oblong block of pine-wood in his hands. One of its ends was 
rounded off, and some deep cuts had been made on the top. 
'Do you know what it is, father?" asked Hans. 

Raff Brinker's face brightened. "Indeed I do, boy, it is 

[262] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

the boat I was making you yest alack, not yesterday, but 
years ago." 

"I have kept it ever since, father; it can be finished when 
your hand grows strong again." 

"Yes, but not for you, my lad. I must wait for the grand- 
children. Why, you are nearly a man. Have you helped your 
mother, boy, through all these years?' 1 

"Aye, and bravely," put in Dame Brinker. 

"Let me see," muttered the father, looking in a puzzled 
way at them all, "how long is it since the night when the 
waters were coming in? 'Tis the last I remember." 

"We have told thee true, Raff. It was ten years last 
Pinxter-week. " 

"Ten years and I fell then, you say. Has the fever been 
on me ever since? " 

Dame Brinker scarce knew how to reply. Should she tell 
him all? Tell him that he had been an idiot, almost a lunatic? 
The doctor had charged her on no account to worry or excite 
his patient. 

Hans and Gretel looked astonished when the answer came. 

"Like enough, Raff," she said, nodding her head, and 
raising her eyebrows, "when a heavy man like thee falls on 
his head, it's hard to say what will come but thou'rt well 
now, Raff. Thank the good Lord!" 

The newly awakened man bowed his head. 

"Aye, well enough, mine vrouw," he said, after a moment's 
silence, "but my brain turns somehow like a spinning-wheel. 
It will not be right till I get on the dykes again. When shall 

I be at work, think you?" 

[263] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

"Hear the man!" cried Dame Brinker delighted, yet 
frightened, too, for that matter; ;< we must get him on the 
bed, Hans. Work indeed!" 

They tried to raise him from the chair but he was not 
readj r yet. 

'Be off with ye!" he said, with something like his old 
smile (Gretel had never seen it before), "does a man want to 
be lifted about like a log? I tell you before three suns I shall 
be on the dykes again. Ah! there'll be some stout fellows to 
greet me. Jan Kamphuisen and young Hoogsvliet. They 
have been good friends to thee, Hans, I'll warrant." 

Hans looked at his mother. Young Hoogsvliet had been 
dead five years. Jan Kamphuisen was in the jail at Amsterdam. 

"Aye, they'd have done their share no doubt," said Dame 
Brinker, parrying the inquiry, "had we asked them. But 
what with working and studying, Hans has been busy enough 
without seeking comrades." 

'Working and studying," echoed Raff, in a musing tone, 
"can the youngsters read and cipher, Meitje?" 

'You should hear them!" she answered proudly, "They 
can run through a book while I mop the floor. Hans, there, 
is as happy over a page of big words as a rabbit in a cabbage 
patch as for ciphering " 

'Here, lad, help a bit," interrupted Raff Brinker, "I must 
get me on the bed again." 



[264] 



XXXVIII 

THE THOUSAND GUILDERS 

NONE seeing the humble supper eaten in the Brinker 
cottage that night would have dreamed of the dainty 
fare hidden away near by. Hans and Gretel looked 
rather wistfully toward the cupboard as they drank their 
cupful of water and ate their scanty share of black bread; 
but even in thought they did not rob their father. 

"He relished his supper well," said Dame Brinker, nodding 
sidewise toward the bed, "and fell asleep the next moment 
Ah, the dear man will be feeble for many a day. He wanted 
sore to sit up again, but while I made show of humoring him, 
and getting ready, he dropped off. Remember that, my girl, 
when you have a man of your own (and many a day may it 
be before that comes to pass), remember you can never rule 
by differing; 'humble wife is husband's boss ' Tut! tut! 
never swallow such a mouthful as that again, child; why I 
could make a meal off of two such pieces. What's in thee, 
Hans? One would think there were cobwebs on the wall." 

"Oh, no, mother, I was only thinking " 

'Thinking, about what? Ah, no use asking," she added 
in a changed tone, "I was thinking of the same a while ago 
well, well It's no blame if we did look to hear something 
by this time about the thousand guilders; but, not a word 
no it's plain enough he knows naught about them." 

Hans looked up anxiously, dreading lest his mother should 

[ 265 ] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

grow agitated, as usual, when speaking of the lost money; 
but she was silently nibbling her bread and looking with a 
doleful stare toward the window. 

'Thousand guilders," echoed a faint voice from the bed. 
"Ah, I am sure they have been of good use to you, vrouw, 
through the long years while your man was idle." 

The poor woman started up. These words quite destroyed 
the hope that of late had been glowing within her. 

"Are you awake, Raff?" she faltered. 

'Yes, Meitje, and I feel much better. Our money was 
well saved, vrouw, I was saying. Did it last through all 
those ten years?" 

'I I have not got it, Raff, I" She was going to tell 
him the whole truth, when Hans lifted his finger warningly 
and whispered: 

'Remember what the meester told us; the father must 
not be worried." 

"Speak to him, child," she answered, trembling. 

Hans hurried to the bedside. 

"I am glad you are feeling better," he said, leaning over 
his father, "another day will see you quite strong again." 

"Aye, like enough. How long did the money last, Hans? 
I could not hear your mother. What did she say?" 

'I said, Raff," stammered Dame Brinker in great dis- 
tress, "that it was all gone." 

'Well, well, wife, do not fret at that; one thousand 
guilders is not so very much for ten years, and with children 
to bring up; but it has helped to make you all comfortable. 
Have you had much sickness to bear?" 

[266] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

"N no," sobbed Dame Brinker, lifting her apron to her 
eyes. 

"Tut tut, woman, why do you cry?" said Raff, kindly, 
"we will soon fill another pouch, when I am on my feet again. 
Lucky I told you all about it before I fell." 

"Told me what, man?" 

"Why, that I buried the money. In my dream just now 
it seemed I had never said aught about it." 

Dame Brinker started forward. Hans caught her arm. 

"Hist! mother," he whispered, hastily leading her away, 
:< we must be very careful." Then, while she stood with clasped 
hands waiting in breathless anxiety, he once more approached 
the cot. Trembling with eagerness he said: 

"That was a troublesome dream. Do you remember 
when you buried the money, father?" 

'Yes, my boy. It was just before daylight on the same 
day I was hurt. Jan Kamphuisen said something, the sun- 
down before, that made me distrust his honesty. He was 
the only one living besides mother who knew we had saved 
a thousand guilders so I rose up that night and buried 
the money blockhead that I was ever to suspect an old 
friend!" 

"I'll be bound, father," pursued Hans in a laughing voice, 
motioning to his mother and Gretel to remain quiet "that 
you've forgotten where you buried it." 

"Ha! ha! not I, indeed but good-night, my son, I can 
sleep again." 

Hans would have walked away, but his mother's gestures 

were not to be disobeyed so he said gently : 

[267] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

"Good-night, father. Where did you say you buried the 
money? I was only a little one then." 

"Close by the willow sapling behind the cottage," said 
Raff Brinker drowsily. 

"Ah, yes. North side of the tree, wasn't it, father?" 

"No, the south side. Ah, you know the spot well enough, 
you rogue like enough you were there when your mother 
lifted it. Now, son easy shift this pillow so. Good- 
night." 

"Good- night, father!" said Hans, ready to dance for joy. 

The inoon rose very late that night, shining in, full and 
clear, at the little window; but its beams did not disturb 
Raff Brinker. He slept soundly; so did Gretel. As for Hans 
and his mother, they had something else to do. 

After making a few hurried preparations, they stole forth 
with bright, expectant faces, bearing a broken spade and a 
rusty implement that had done many a day's service when 
Raff was a hale worker on the dykes. 

It was so light out-of-doors they could see the willow r 
tree distinctly. The frozen ground was hard as stone, but 
Hans and his mother were resolute. Their only dread was 
that they might disturb the sleepers in the cottage. 

'This ysbrekker is just the thing, mother," said Hans, 
striking many a vigorous blow "but the ground has set so 
firm it'll be a fair match for it." 

'Never fear, Hans," she answered, watching him eagerly, 
"here, let me try awhile." 

They soon succeeded in making an impression; one open- 
ing, and the rest was not so difficult. 

[268] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

Still they worked on, taking turns and whispering cheerily 
to one another. Now and then Dame Brinker stepped noise- 
lessly over the threshold and listened, to be certain that her 
husband slept. 

"What grand news it will be for him," she said, laughing, 
"when he is strong enough to bear it. How I should like to 
put the pouch and the stocking, just as we find them, all full 
of money, near him this blessed night, for the dear man to 
see when he wakens." 

"We must get them, first, mother," panted Hans, still 
tugging away at his work. 

"There's no doubt of that. They can't slip away from 
us now," she answered, shivering with cold and excitement, 
as she crouched beside the opening. "Like enough we'll find 
them stowed in the old earthen pot I lost long ago." 

By this time Hans, too, began to tremble, but not with 
cold. He had penetrated a foot deep for quite a space on 
the south side of the tree. At any moment they might come 

upon the treasure. 

Meantime the stars winked and blinked at each other as 
if to say, "Queer country, this Holland! How much we do 
see, to be sure!" 

"Strange that the dear father should have put it down so 
woeful deep," said Dame Brinker, in rather a provoked tone. 
"Ah, the ground was soft enough then I warrant. How wise 
of him to mistrust Jan Kamphuisen, and Jan in full credit 
at the time. Little I thought that handsome fellow with 
his gay ways would ever go to jail! Now, Hans, let me 

take a turn it's lighter work, d'ye see? the deeper we go. 

[269] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 



I'd be loath to kill the tree, Hans will we harm it, think 

5 " 

you? 

'I cannot say," he answered, gravely. 

Hour after hour mother and son worked on. The hole 
grew larger and deeper. Clouds began to gather in the sky, 
throwing elfish shadows as they passed. Not until moon and 
stars faded away and streaks of daylight began to appear 
did Meitje Brinker and Hans look hopelessly into each other's 
face. 

They had searched thoroughly, desperately, all round the 
tree South, North, East, West. The hidden money was not 
there! 



[270] 




D.MSK 



Hour after hour, mother and son worked on. 



XXXIX 

GLIMPSES 

A""NIE BOUMAN had a healthy distaste for Janzoon 
Kolp. Janzoon Kolp, in his own rough way, adored 
Annie. Annie declared she could not 'to save her 
life' say one civil word to that odious boy. Janzoon believed 
her to be the sweetest, sauciest creature in the world. Annie 
laughed among her playmates at the comical flapping of 
Jaiizoon's tattered and dingy jacket; he sighed in solitude 
over the floating grace of her jaunty blue petticoat. She 
thanked her stars that her brothers were not like the Kolps; 
and he growled at his sister because she was not like the Bou- 
mans. They seemed to exchange natures whenever they met. 
His presence made her harsh and unfeeling; and he, the very 
sight of her made him gentle as a lamb. Of course they were 
thrown together very often. It is thus that in some mysterious 
way we are convinced of error and cured of prejudice. In 
this case, however, the scheme failed. Annie detested Jan- 
zoon more and more at each encounter; and Janzoon liked 
her better and better every day. 

"He killed a stork, the wicked old wretch!" she would 
say to herself. 

"She knows I am strong and fearless," thought Janzoon. 

"How red and freckled and ugly he is!" was Annie's 
secret comment when she looked at him. 

[271 ] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

"How she stares and stares!" thought Janzoon. 'Well, 
I am a fine, weather-beaten fellow, anyway." 

"Janzoon Kolp, you impudent boy, go right away from 
me!" Annie often said, "I don't want any of your company." 

"Ha! ha!" laughed Janzoon to himself, "girls never say 
what they mean. I'll skate with her every chance I can get." 

And so it came to pass that the pretty maid would not 
look up that morning when, skating homeward from Amster- 
dam, she became convinced that a great burly boy was com- 
ing down the canal toward her. 

"Humph! if I look at him," thought Annie, "I'll" 

"Good-morrow, Annie Bouman," said a pleasant voice. 

(How a smile brightens a girl's face!) 

"Good-morrow, Master Hans, I am right glad to meet 

you." 

(How a smile brightens a boy's face!) 

"Good-morrow, again, Annie. There has been a great 
change at our house since you left." 

'How so?" she exclaimed, opening her eyes very wide. 

Hans, who had been in a great hurry, and rather moody, 
grew talkative and quite at leisure in Annie's sunshine. Turn- 
ing about, and skating slowly with her towards Broek, he 
told the good news of his father. Annie was so true a friend 
that he told her even of their present distress, of how money 
was needed, and how everything depended upon his obtain- 
ing work, and he could find nothing to do in the neighbor- 
hood. 

All this was not said as a complaint, but just because she 
was looking at him, and really wished to know. He could 

[272] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

not speak of last night's bitter disappointment, for that secret 
was not wholly his own. 

"Good-bye, Annie!" he said at last. 'The morning is 
going fast, and I must haste to Amsterdam and sell these 
skates. Mother must have money at once. Before night- 
fall I shall certainly find a job somewhere." 

"Sell your new skates, Hans!" cried Annie, "you, the 
best skater around Broek! Why the Race is coming off in 
five days!" 

"I know it," he answered resolutely. "Good-bye! I 
shall skate home again on the old wooden ones." 

Such a bright glance! So different from Janzoon's ugly 
grin and Hans was off like an arrow. 

"Hans! come back," she called. 

Her voice changed the arrow into a top. Spinning around, 
he darted, in one long, leaning sweep, toward her. 

"Then you really are going to sell your new skates if you 
can find a customer?" 

"Of course I am," he replied, looking up with a surprised 
smile. 

'Well, Hans, if you are going to sell your skates," said 

Annie, somewhat confused, "I mean if you Well I know 

somebody who would like to buy them that's all." 

''Not Janzoon Kolp?" asked Hans, flushing. 

"Oh, no," she pouted, "he is not one of my friends." 

"But you know him," persisted Hans. 

Annie laughed. 'Yes, I know him, and it's all the worse 
for him that I do. Now please, Hans, don't ever talk any 

more to me about Janzoon. I hate him!" 

[273] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

"Hate him! you hate any one, Annie?" 

She shook her head saucily. 'Yes; and I'll hate you too, 
if you persist in calling him one of my friends. You boys 
may like him because he caught the greased goose at the 
Kermis last summer, and climbed the pole with his great, 
ugly body tied up in a sack, but I don't care for such things. 
I've disliked him ever since I saw him try to push his little 
sister out of the merry-go-round at Amsterdam; and it's no 
secret up our way who killed the stork on your mother's 
roof. But we mustn't talk about such a bad, wicked fellow. 
Really, Hans, I know somebody who would be glad to buy 
your skates. You won't get half a price for them in Amster- 
dam. Please give them to me. I'll take you the money this 
very afternoon." 

If Annie was charming even when she said 'hate,' there 
was no withstanding her when she said 'please'; at least 
Hans found it to be so. 

"Annie," he said, taking off the skates, and rubbing them 
carefully with a snarl of twine before handing them to her, 
'I am sorry to be so particular; but if your friend should 
not want them, will you bring them back to me to-day? I 
must buy peat and meal for the mother early to-morrow 
morning." 

"My friend will want them," laughed Annie, nodding 
gaily, and skating off at the top of her speed. 

As Hans drew forth the wooden 'runners' from his ca- 
pacious pockets and fastened them on as best he could, he 
did not hear Annie murmur, "I wish I had not been so rude; 
poor, brave Hans; what a noble boy he is!" And as Annie 

[274] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

skated homeward filled with pleasant thoughts, she did not 
hear Hans say, "I grumbled like a bear but bless her! some 
girls are like angels!" 

Perhaps it was all for the best. One cannot be expected 
to know everything that is going on in the world. 



[275] 



XL 
LOOKING FOR WORK 

E JURIES unfit us for returning to hardships easily 
endured before. The wooden runners squeaked more 
than ever. It was as much as Hans could do to get 
on with the clumsy old things; still he did not regret that 
he had parted with his beautiful skates but resolutely 
pushed back the boyish trouble that he had not been able 
to keep them just a little longer, at least until after the race. 

Mother surely will not be angry with me, he thought, 
for selling them without her leave. She has had care enough 
already. It will be full time to speak of it when I take home 
the money. 

Hans went up and down the streets of Amsterdam that 
day looking for work. He succeeded in earning a few stivers 
by assisting a man who was driving a train of loaded mules 
into the city, but he could not secure steady employment 
anywhere. He would have been glad to obtain a situation 
as porter or errand-boy, but though he passed, on his way, 
many a loitering, shuffling urchin, laden with bundles, there 
was no place for him. Some shopkeepers had just supplied 
themselves; others needed a trimmer, more lightly built fel- 
low (they meant better dressed, but did not choose to say 
so); others told him to call again in a month or two, when 
the canals would probably be broken up; and many shook 
their heads at him without saying a word. 

[276] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

At the factories he met with no better luck. It seemed 
to him that in those great buildings, turning out respectively 
such tremendous quantities of woolen, cotton and linen stuffs, 
such world-renowned dyes and paints, such precious diamonds 
cut from the rough, such supplies of meal, of bricks, of glass 
and china that in at least one of these a strong-armed boy, 
able and eager to work, could find something to do. But no 
nearly the same answer met him everywhere, "no need of 
more hands just now." If he had called before Nicholas' day 
they might have given him a job, as they were hurried then; 
but at present they had more boys than they needed. Hans 
wished they could see, just for a moment, his mother and 
Gretel. He did not know how the anxiety of both looked 
out from his eyes, and how more than once the gruffest 
denials were uttered with an uncomfortable consciousness 
that the lad ought not to be turned away. Certain fathers, 
when they went home that night, spoke more kindly than 
usual to their own youngsters, from memory of a frank, young 
face saddened at their words; and before morning one man 
actually resolved that if the Broek boy came in again he 
would instruct his head man Blankert to set him at something. 

But Hans knew nothing of all this. Toward sundown he 
started on his return to Broek, uncertain whether the strange, 
choking sensation in his throat arose from discouragement or 
resolution. There was certainly one more chance. Mynheer 
van Holp might have returned by this time. Master Peter, 
it was reported, had gone to Haarlem the night before, to 
attend to something connected with the great Skating Race. 

Still Hans would go and try. 

[277] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

Fortunately, Peter had returned early that morning. He 
was at home when Hans reached there, and was just about 
starting for the Brinker cottage. 

"Ah, Hans!" he cried as the weary boy approached the 
door. 'You are the very one I wished to see. Come in and 
warm yourself." 

After tugging at his well-worn hat, which always would 
stick to his head when he was embarrassed, Hans knelt down 
-not by way of making a new style of oriental salute nor 
to worship the goddess of cleanliness who presided there 
but because his heavy shoes would have filled the soul of a 
Broek housewife with horror. When their owner stepped 
softly into the house, they were left outside to act as sen- 
tinels until his return. 



Hans left the van Holp mansion with a lightened heart. 
Peter had brought word from Haarlem that young Brinker 
was to commence working upon the summer-house doors 
immediately. There was a comfortable workshop on the 
place and it was to be at his service until the carving was 
done. 

Peter did not tell Hans that he had skated all the way to 
Haarlem for the purpose of arranging this plan with Mynheer 
van Holp. It was enough for him to see the glad, eager look 
rise on young Brinker's face. 

'I think I can do it," said Hans, "though I have never 
learned the trade." 

'I am sure you can," responded Peter, heartily. 'You 

will find every tool you require in the workshop. It is nearly 

[278] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

hidden yonder by that wall of twigs. In summer, when the 
hedge is green, one cannot see the shop from here at all. 
How is your father to-day?" 

"Better, mynheer he improves every hour." 

"It is the most astonishing thing I ever heard of. That 
gruff old doctor is a great fellow after all." 

"Ah! mynheer," said Hans, warmly, ''he is more than 
great. He is good. But for the meester's kind heart and 
great skill my poor father would yet be in the dark. I think, 
mynheer," he added, with kindling eyes, "surgery is the very 
noblest science in the world!" 

Peter shrugged his shoulders. 'Very noble it may be, 
but not quite to my taste. This Doctor Boekman certainly 
has skill. As for his heart defend me from such hearts as 
his!" 

"Why do you say so, mynheer?" asked Hans. 

Just then a lady slowly entered from an adjoining apart- 
ment. It was Mevrouw van Holp, arrayed in the grandest of 
caps and the longest of satin aprons ruffled with lace. She 
nodded placidly as Hans stepped back from the fire bowing 
as well as he knew how. 

Peter at once drew a high-backed oaken chair toward the 
fire, and the lady seated herself. There was a block of cork 
on each side of the chimney place. One of these he placed 
under his mother's feet. 

Hans turned to go. 

"Wait a moment, if you please, young man," said the 
lady. "I accidentally overheard you and my son speaking, 

I think, of my friend Doctor Boekman. You are right, young 

[279] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

man. Doctor Boekman has a very kind heart. You per- 
ceive, Peter, we may be quite mistaken in judging of a per- 
son solely by their manners, though a courteous deportment 
is by no means to be despised." 

'I intended no disrespect, mother," said Peter, : 'but 
surely one has no right to go growling and snarling through 
the world, as they say he does." 

'They say. Ah, Peter, 'they' means everybody or no- 
body. Surgeon Boekman has had a great sorrow. Many 
years ago he lost his only child, under very painful circum- 
stances, a fine lad, except that he was a thought too hasty 
and high spirited. Before then Gerard Boekman was one 
of the most agreeable gentlemen I ever knew." 

So saying, Mevrouw van Holp, looking kindly upon the 
two boys, arose and left the room with the same dignity with 
which she had entered. 

Peter, only half convinced, muttered something about 
'the sin of allowing sorrow to turn all one's honey into gall,' 
as he conducted his visitor to the narrow side-door. Before 
they parted, he advised Hans to keep himself in good skating 
order, : 'for," he added, "now that your father is all right, 
you will be in fine spirits for the race. That will be the pret- 
tiest skating show ever seen in this part of the world. Every- 
body is talking of it; you are to try for the prize, remember." 

'I shall not be in the race, mynheer," said Hans, looking 
down. 

'Not be in the race! Why not, indeed?" and immediately 
Peter's thoughts swept on a full tide of suspicion towards 
Carl Schummel. 

[280] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

"Because I cannot, mynheer," answered Hans, as he bent 

to slip his feet into his big shoes. 

Something in the boy's manner warned Peter that it 
would be no kindness to press the matter further. He bade 
Hans, "good-bye," and stood thoughtfully watching him as 
he walked away. 

In a minute Peter called out: 

"Hans Brinker!" 

"Yes, mynheer." 

"I'll take back all I said about Doctor Boekman." 
'Yes, mynheer." 

Both were laughing. But Peter's smile changed to a look 
of puzzled surprise when he saw Hans kneel down by the 
canal and put on the wooden skates. 

"Very queer," muttered Peter, shaking his head as he 
turned to go into the house, "why in the world don't the 
boy wear his new ones?" 



[281] 



XLI 
THE FAIRY GODMOTHER 

THE sun had gone down quite out of sight when our 
hero with a happy heart but with something like a 
sneer on his countenance, as he jerked off the wooden 
"runners" -trudged hopefully toward the tiny, hut-like build- 
ing, known of old as the Idiot's cottage. 

Duller eyes than his would have discerned two slight 
figures moving near the doorway. 

That gray, well-patched jacket and the dull blue skirt 
covered with an apron of still duller blue, that faded, close- 
fitting cap, and those quick little feet in their great boat- 
like shoes, they were Gretel's of course. He would have 
known them anywhere. 

That bright coquettish red jacket, with its pretty skirt, 
bordered w T ith black, that graceful cap bobbing over the gold 
ear-rings, that dainty apron, and those snug leather shoes 
that seemed to have grown with the feet Why if the Pope 
of Rome had sent them to him by express, Hans could have 
sworn they were Annie's. 

The two girls were slowly pacing up and down in front of 
the cottage. Their arms were entwined, of course, and their 
heads were nodding and shaking as emphatically as if all 
the affairs of the kingdom were under discussion. 

With a joyous shout, Hans hastened toward them. 

"Huzza, girls, I've found work!" 

[282] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

This brought his mother to the cottage door. 

She, too, had pleasant tidings. The father was still im- 
proving. He had been sitting up nearly all day, and was now 
sleeping, as Dame Brinker declared, 'just as quiet as a lamb.' 

"It is my turn now, Hans," said Annie, drawing him 
aside after he had told his mother the good word from Myn- 
heer van Holp. 'Your skates are sold and here's the money." 

"Seven guilders!" cried Hans counting the pieces in as- 
tonishment, "why that is three times as much as I paid for 
them." 

"I cannot help that," said Annie. "If the buyer knew 
no better, it is not our fault." 

Hans looked up quickly. 

"Oh, Annie!" 

"Oh, Hans!" she mimicked, pursing her lips, and trying 
to look desperately wicked and unprincipled. 

"Now, Annie, I know you would never mean that! You 
must return some of this money." 

"But I'll not do any such thing," insisted Annie, "they're 
sold, and that's an end of it," then seeing that he looked 
really pained she added in a lower tone: 

"Will you believe me, Hans, when I say that there has 
been no mistake that the person who bought your skates 
insisted upon paying seven guilders for them?' : 

"I will," he answered and the light from his clear blue 
eyes seemed to settle and sparkle under Annie's lashes. 

Dame Brinker was delighted at the sight of so much 
silver, but when she learned that Hans had parted with his 

treasures to obtain it, she sighed, as she exclaimed: 

[283] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

"Bless thee, child! That will be a sore loss for thee!" 

"Here, mother," said the boy, plunging his hands far into 
his pocket, "here is more we shall be rich if we keep on!" 

"Aye, indeed," she answered, eagerly reaching forth her 
hand. Then, lowering her voice, added, : 'we would be rich 
but for that Jan Kamphuisen. He was at the willow tree 
years ago, Hans depend upon it!" 

"Indeed, it seems likely," sighed Hans, : 'well, mother, 
we must give up the money bravely. It is certainly gone; 
the father has told us all he knows. Let us think no more 
about it." 

"That's easy saying, Hans. I shall try, but it's hard, 
and my poor man wanting so many comforts. Bless me! 
How girls fly about. They were here but this instant. Where 
did they run to?" 

"They slipped behind the cottage," said Hans, "like 
enough to hide from us. Hist! I'll catch them for you! 
They both can move quicker and softer than yonder rabbit, 
but I'll give them a good start first." 

'Why there is a rabbit, sure enough. Hold, Hans, the 
poor thing must have been in sore need to venture from its 
burrow this bitter weather. I'll get a few crumbs for it within." 

So saying, the good woman bustled into the cottage. 
She soon came out again, but Hans had forgotten to wait, 
and the rabbit, after taking a cool survey of the premises, 
had scampered off to unknown quarters. Turning the corner 
of the cottage, Dame Brinker came upon the children. Hans 
and Gretel were standing before Annie who was seated care- 
lessly upon a stump. 

[284] 




Something whispered to Hans that, for the moment, she was 

more than mortal. 



THE SILVER SKATES 

"That is as good as a picture!" cried Dame Brinker halt- 
ing in admiration of the group. "Many a painting have I 
seen at the grand house at Heidelberg not a whit prettier. 
My two are rough chubs, Annie, but you look like a fairy." 

"Do I?" laughed Annie, sparkling with animation, "well 
then, Gretel and Hans, imagine I'm your godmother just 
paying you a visit. Now I'll grant you each a wish. What 
will you have, Master Hans?' : 

A shade of earnestness passed over Annie's face as she 
looked up at him perhaps it was because she wished from 
the depths of her heart that for once she could have a fairy's 
power. 

Something whispered to Hans that, for the moment, she 
was more than mortal. 

"I wish," said he, solemnly, "I could find something I 
was searching for last night?' 1 

Gretel laughed merrily. Dame Brinker moaned, "Shame 
on you, Hans!" and passed wearily into the cottage. 

The fairy godmother sprang up and stamped her foot 
three times. 

"Thou shalt have thy wish," said she, "let them say 
what they will." Then, with playful solemnity, she put her 
hand in her apron pocket and drew forth a large glass bead. 
"Bury this," said she, giving it to Hans, :< where I have 
stamped, and ere moonrise thy wish shall be granted." 

Gretel laughed more merrily than ever. 

The godmother pretended great displeasure. 

"Naughty child," said she, scowling terribly. "In pun- 
ishment for laughing at a fairy, thy wish shall not be granted." 

[285] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 



"Ha!" cried Gretel in high glee, "better wait till you're 
asked, godmother. I haven't made any wish!" 

Annie acted her part well. Never smiling, through all 
their merry laughter, she stalked away, the embodiment of 
offended dignity. 

"Good-night, fairy!" they cried again and again. 

"Good-night, mortals!" she called out at last as she 
sprang over a frozen ditch, and ran quickly homeward. 

"Oh, isn't she just like flowers so sweet and lovely!" 
cried Gretel, looking after her in great admiration, "and to 
think how many days she stays in that dark room with her 
grandmother Why, brother Hans! What is the matter? 
What are you going to do?' : 

"Wait and see!" answered Hans as he plunged into the 
cottage and came out again, all in an instant, bearing the 
spade and ysbrekker in his hands "I'm going to bury my 
magic bead!" 

Raff Brinker still slept soundly; his wife took a small 
block of peat from her nearly exhausted store, and put it 
upon the embers. Then, opening the door, she called gently : 

"Come in, children." 

'Mother! mother! See here!" shouted Hans. 

'Holy St. Bavon!" exclaimed the dame, springing over 
the door-step. "What ails the boy!" 

"Come quick, mother," he cried, in great excitement, 
working w r ith all his might, and driving in the ysbrekker at 
each word. "Don't you see? This is the spot right here 
on the south side of the stump. Why didn't we think of it 

[286] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

last night? The stump is the old willow-tree the one you 
cut down last spring because it shaded the potatoes. That 
little tree wasn't here when father Huzzah!" 

Dame Brinker could not speak. She dropped on her knees 
beside Hans just in time to see him drag forth the old stone pot! 

He thrust in his hand and took out a piece of brick then 
another then another then the stocking and the pouch, 
black and mouldy, but filled with the long-lost treasure! 

Such a time! Such laughing! Such crying! Such count- 
ing, after they went into the cottage! It was a wonder that 
Raff did not waken. His dreams were pleasant, however, for 
he smiled in his sleep. 

Dame Brinker and her children had a fine supper I can 
assure you. No need of saving the delicacies now. 

"We'll get father some nice fresh things to-morrow," 
said the dame, as she brought forth cold meat, wine, bread 
and jelly, and placed them on the clean pine table. "Sit by, 
children, sit by." 

That night Annie fell asleep wondering whether it was 
a knife Hans had lost, and thinking how funny it would be 
if he should find it, after all. 

Hans had scarce closed his eyes before he found himself 
trudging through a thicket; pots of gold were lying all around, 
and watches, and skates, and glittering beads were swinging 
from every branch. 

Strange to say, each tree, as he approached it, changed 
into a stump, and on the stump sat the prettiest fairy imagin- 
able, clad in a scarlet jacket and blue petticoat. 

[287] 



XLII 
THE MYSTERIOUS WATCH 

SOMETHING else than the missing guilders was brought 
to light on the day of the fairy godmother's visit. 
This was the story of the watch that for ten long years 
had been so jealously guarded by Raff's faithful vrouw. 
Through many an hour of sore temptation she had dreaded 
almost to look upon it, lest she might be tempted to disobey 
her husband's request. It had been hard to see her children 
hungry and to know that the watch, if sold, would enable the 
roses to bloorn in their cheeks again 'but nay," she would 
exclaim, "Meitje Brinker is not one to forget her man's last 
bidding, come what may." 

'Take good care of this, mine vrouw," he had said, as 
he handed it to her that was all. No explanation followed, 
for the words were scarcely spoken when one of his fellow 
workmen rushed into the cottage, crying, "Come, man! the 
waters are rising! you're wanted on the dykes." 

Raff had started at once, and that, as Dame Brinker has 
already told you, was the last she saw of him in his right 
mind. 

On the day when Hans was in Amsterdam looking for 
work, and Gretel, after performing her household labors, was 
wandering about in search of chips, twigs anything that 
could be burned, Dame Brinker with suppressed excitement 

had laid the watch in her husband's hand. 

[288] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

"It wasn't in reason," as she afterwards said to Hans, 
"to wait any longer, when a word from the father would 
settle all; no woman living but would want to know how 
he came by that watch." Raff Brinker turned the bright, 
polished thing over and over in his hand then he examined 
the bit of smoothly ironed black ribbon fastened to it; he 
seemed hardly to recognize it. At last he said, "Ah, I remem- 
ber this! Why you've been rubbing it, vrouw, till it shines 
like a new guilder." 

"Aye," said Dame Brinker nodding her head complacently. 

Raff looked at it again. "Poor boy!" he murmured, then 
fell into a brown study. 

This was too much for the dame. "Poor boy!" she 
echoed, somewhat tartly. 'What do you think I'm standing 
here for, Raff Brinker, and my spinning a-waiting, if not to 
hear more than that?" 

"I told ye all, long since," said Raff, positively, as he 
looked up in surprise. 

"Indeed, and you never did!" retorted the vrouw. 
'Well, if not since it's no affair of ours we'll say no 
more about it," said Raff, shaking his head sadly; "like 
enough while I've been dead on the earth, all this time, the 
poor boy's died and been in Heaven. He looked near enough 
to it, poor lad!" 

"Raff Brinker! If you're going to treat me this way, 
and I nursing you and bearing with you since I was twenty- 
two years old, it's a shame! aye, and a disgrace," cried the 
vrouw growing quite red, and scant of breath. 

Raff's voice was feeble yet, "Treat you what way, Meitje?" 

[289] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

"What way?" said Dame Brinker, mimicking his voice and 
manner, "what way? why just as every woman in the world 
is treated after she's stood by a man through the worst, like 
a " 

"Meitje!" 

Raff was leaning forward, with outstretched arms. His 
eyes were full of tears. 

In an instant Dame Brinker was at his feet, clasping his 
hands in hers. 

"Oh! what have I done! Made my good man cry, and 
he not back with me four days! Look up, Raff! nay, Raff, 
my own boy, I'm sorry I hurt thee. It's hard not to be told 
about the watch after waiting ten years to know but I'll 
ask thee no more, Raff. Here, we'll put the thing away that's 
made the first trouble between us, after God just giving thee 
back to me." 

"I was a fool to cry, Meitje," he said, kissing her, "and 
it's no more than right ye should know the truth. But it 
seemed like it might be telling the secrets of the dead to talk 
about the matter." 

'Is the man the lad thou wert talking of dead, think 
thee?" asked the vrouw, hiding the watch in her hand, but 
seating herself expectantly on the end of his long foot-bench. 

''It's hard telling," he answered. 

"Was he so sick, Raff?" 

'No, not sick, I may say; but troubled, vrouw, very 
troubled." 

'Had he done any wrong, think ye?" she asked, lowering 
her voice. 

[290] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

Raff nodded. 

"Murder?" whispered the wife, not daring to look up. 

"He said it was like to that, indeed." 

"Oh! Raff, you frighten me tell me more you speak 
so strange and you tremble. I must know all." 

"If I tremble, mine vrouw, it must be from the fever. 
There is no guilt on my soul, thank God!" 

"Take a sip of this wine, Raff. There, now you are better. 
It was like to a crime you were saying." 

"Aye, Meitje, like to murder; that he told me himself. 
But I'll never believe it. A likely lad, fresh and honest look- 
ing as our own youngster, but with something not so bold 
and straight about him." 

"Aye, I know," said the dame, gently, fearing to inter- 
rupt the story. 

"He came upon me quite sudden," continued Raff. "I 
had never seen his face before, the palest, frightenest face 
that ever was. He caught me by the arm, 'You look like an 
honest man/ says he." 

"Aye, he was right in that," interrupted the dame, em- 
phatically. 

Raff looked somewhat bewildered. 
'Where was I, mine vrouw?" 

"The lad took hold of your arm, Raff," she said, gazing 
at him anxiously. 

"Aye, so. The words come awkward to me, and every- 
thing is half like a dream, ye see." 

"S-stut! What wonder, poor man," sighed the dame, 

stroking his hand. "If ye had not head enough for a dozen, 

[291] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

the wit would never have come to ye again. Well, the lad 
caught ye by the arm, and said ye looked honest (well he 
might!). What then? Was it noon-time?" 

'Nay; before daylight long before early chimes." 

"It was the same day you were hurt," said the dame. 
'I know it seemed you went to your work in the middle 
of the night. You left off where he caught your arm, 
Raff." 

'Yes," resumed her husband "and I can see his face 
this minute so white and wild looking. 'Take me down the 
river a way,' says he. I was working then, you'll remember, 
far down on the line across from Amsterdam. I told him 
I was no boatman. 'It's an affair of life and death,' says he, 
'take me on a few miles yonder skiff is not locked, but it 
may be a poor man's boat and I'd be loath to rob him !' (The 
words might differ some, vrouw, for it's all like a dream.) 
Well, I took him down; it might be six or eight miles, and 
then he said he could run the rest of the way on shore. I 
was in haste to get the boat back. Before he jumped out, 
he says, sobbing like, 'I can trust you. I've done a thing 
God knows I never intended it but the man is dead. I 
must fly from Holland.' 

'What was it, did he say, Raff? Had he been shooting 
at a comrade, like they do down at the University at Got- 
tingen?' ; 

''I can't recall that. Mayhap he told me; but it's all 
like a dream. I said it wasn't for me, a good Hollander, to 
cheat the laws of my country by helping him off that way; 
but he kept saying, 'God knows I am innocent!' and looked 

[292] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

at me in the starlight as fair, now, and clear-eyed as our little 
Hans might and I just pulled away faster." 

"It must have been Jan Kamphuisen's boat," remarked 
Dame Brinker, dryly, "none other would have left his oars 
out that careless." 

"Aye it was Jan's boat sure enough. The man will be 
coming in to see me Sunday, likely, if he's heard; and young 
Hoogsvliet too. Where was I?" 

[It was lucky the dame restrained herself. To have spoken 
at all of Jan after the last night's cruel disappointment would 
have been to have let out more sorrow and suspicion than Raff 
could bear.] 

'Where were you? Why not very far, forsooth the lad 
hadn't yet given ye the watch alack ! I misgive whether he 
came by it honestly!" 

'Why, vrouw," exclaimed Raff in an injured tone, "he 
was dressed soft and fine as the prince himself. The watch 
was his own, clear enough." 

"How came he to give it up?" asked the dame, looking 
uneasily at the fire, for it needed another block of peat. 

"I told ye just now," he answered with a puzzled air. 
'Tell me again," said Dame Brinker, wisely warding off 
another digression. 

'Well, just before jumping from the boat, he says, hand- 
ing me the watch, 'I'm flying from my country as I never 
thought I could. I'll trust you because you look honest. 
Will you take this to my father not to-day, but in a week, 
and tell him his unhappy boy sent it? and tell him if ever 

the time comes that he wants me to come back to him, I'll 

[293] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

brave everything and corne. Tell him to send a letter to 
to '- -there the rest is all gone from me. I can't remember 
where the letter was to go. Poor lad! poor lad," resumed 
Raff, sorrowfully, taking the watch from his vrouw's lap, 
as he spoke "and it's never been sent to his father to this 
day." 

"I'll take it, Raff, never fear the moment Gretel gets 
back. She will be in soon. What was the father's name did 
you say? Where were you to find him?' : 

"Alack!" answered Raff, speaking very slowly, : 'It's all 
slipped me. I can see the lad's face, and his great eyes, just 
as plain and I remember his opening the watch, and snatch- 
ing something from it and kissing it but no more. All the 
rest whirls past me; there's a kind of sound like rushing 
waters comes over me when I try to think." 

"Aye. That's plain to see, Raff; but I've had the same 
feeling after a fever. You're tired now I must get ye straight 
on the bed again. Where is the child, I wonder?" 

Dame Brinker opened the door and called, ''Gretel! 
Gretel!" 

"Stand aside, vrouw," said Raff, feebly, as he leaned for- 
ward, and endeavored to look out upon the bare landscape, 
'I've hah 6 a mind to stand beyond the door just once." 

: 'Nay, nay," she laughed, "I'll tell the meester how ye 
tease, and fidget and bother to be let out in the air; and, if 
he says it, I'll bundle ye warm to-morrow, and give ye a turn 
on your feet. But I'm freezing you with this door open. I 
declare if there isn't Gretel with her apron full, skating on 
the canal like wild. Why, man," she continued, almost in a 

[294] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

scream, as she slammed the door, "thou'rt walking to the bed 
without my touching thee! Thou'lt fall!" 

The dame's "thee" proved her mingled fear and delight, 
even more than the rush which she made toward her hus- 
band. Soon he was comfortably settled under the new cover, 
declaring, as his vrouw tucked him in snug and warm, that 
it was the last daylight that should see him abed. 

"Aye! I can hope it myself," laughed Dame Brinker, 
"now you have been frisking about at that rate." As Raff 
closed his eyes the dame hastened to revive her fire, or rather 
to dull it, for Dutch peat is like a Dutchman, slow to kindle, 
but very good at a blaze when once started. Then putting 
her neglected spinning-wheel away, she drew forth her knit- 
ting from some invisible pocket and seated herself by the 
bedside. 

"If you could remember that man's name, Raff," she 
began cautiously, "I might take the watch to him while 
you're sleeping; Gretel can't but be in soon." 

Raff tried to think; but in vain. 

"Could it be Boornphoffen?" suggested the dame. "I've 
heard how they've had two sons turn out bad Gerard and 
Lambert." 

"It might be," said Raff, "look if there's letters on the 
watch; that'll guide us some." 

"Bless thee, man," cried the happy dame, eagerly lifting 
the watch, "why thou'rt sharper than ever! Sure enough. 
Here's letters! L. J. B. That's Lambert Boomphoffen, you 
may depend, what the J is for I can't say; but they used to 

be grand kind o' people, high-feathered as fancy fowl. Just 

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HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

the kind to give their children all double names, which isn't 
scripture anyway." 

"I don't know about that, vrouw. Seems to me there's 
long mixed names in the Holy Book, hard enough to make 
out. But you've got the right guess at a jump. It was your 
way always," said Raff, closing his eyes, "take the watch to 
Boompkinks and try." 

"Not Boompkinks, I know no such name; it's Boomp- 
hoffen." 

"Aye, take it there." 

"Take it there, man! why the whole brood of 'em's been 
gone to America these four years. But go to sleep, Raff; 
you look pale and out of strength. It'll all come to you, 
what's best to do, in the morning. 

"So, Mistress Gretel! Here you are at last!" 



Before Raff awoke that evening the fairy godmother, as 
we know, had been at the cottage, the guilders were once 
more safely locked in the big chest, and Dame Brinker and 
the children were faring sumptuously on meat and white 
bread and wine. 

So the mother, in the joy of her heart, told them the story 
of the watch as far as she deemed it prudent to divulge it. 
It was no more than fair, she thought, that the poor things 
should know, after keeping the secret so safe ever since they 
had been old enough to know anything. 



[296] 



XLIII 
A DISCOVERY 

THE next sun brought a busy day to the Brinkers. 
In the first place the news of the thousand guilders 
had of course to be told to the father. Such tidings 
as that surely could not harm him. Then, while Gretel was 
diligently obeying her mother's injunction to 'clean the place 
fresh as a new brewing,' Hans and the dame sallied forth 
to revel in the purchasing of peat and provisions. 

Hans was careless and contented; the dame was filled 
with delightful anxieties caused by the unreasonable demands 
of ten thousand guilders' worth of new wants that had sprung 
up like mushrooms in a single night. The happy woman talked 
so largely to Hans on their way to Amsterdam, and brought 
back such little bundles after all, that he scratched his be- 
wildered head as he leaned against the chimney-piece, won- 
dering whether, "bigger the pouch, tighter the string," was 
in Jacob Cats, and therefore true, or whether he had dreamed 
it when he lay in a fever. 

"What thinking on, Big-eyes?" chirruped his mother, 
half reading his thoughts as she bustled about, preparing the 
dinner, "What thinking on? Why, Raff, would ye believe 
it, the child thought to carry half Amsterdam back on his 
head. Bless us! he would have bought as much coffee as 

would have filled this fire-pot; 'no no my lad/ says I, 

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HANS BRINKER; OR, 

' no time for leaks when the ship is rich laden '- -and then 
how he stared aye just as he stares this minute. Hoot 
lad! fly around a mite. Ye'll grow to the chimney -place 
with j'our staring and wondering. Now, Raff, here's your 
chair at the head of the table, where it should be, for there's 
A MAN to the house now I'd say it to the king's face. Aye, 
that's the way lean on Hans; there's a strong staff for you! 
growing like a weed too, and it seems only yesterday since he 
was toddling. Sit by, my man, sit by." 

"Can you call to mind, vrouw," said Raff, settling him- 
self cautiously in the big chair, 'the wonderful music-box 
that cheered your working in the big house at Heidelberg?" 

"Aye, that I can," answered the dame, 'three turns of 

a brass key, and the witchy thing would send the music 

fairly running up and down one's back I remember it well 

-but, Raff" (growing solemn in an instant), "you would 

never throw our guilders away for a thing like that?' : 

"No, no, not I, vrouw for the good Lord has already 
given me a music-box without pay." 

All three cast quick, frightened glances at one another 
and at Raff were his wits on the wing again? 

"Aye, and a music-box that fifty pouch-full would not 
buy from me," insisted Raff; "and it's set going by the turn 
of a mop handle, and it slips and glides around the room, 
everywhere in a flash, carrying the music about till you'd 
swear the birds were back again." 

"Holy St. Bavon!" screeched the dame, :< what's in the 
man?" 

"Comfort and joy, vrouw, that's what's in him! Ask 

[298] 




We sang together half the time you were gone." 



THE SILVER SKATES 

Gretel, ask my little music-box Gretel, if your man has lacked 
comfort and joy this day." 

"Not he, mother," laughed Gretel. "He's been my music- 
box, too. We sang together half the time you were gone." 

"Aye, so," said the dame, greatly relieved. "Now, Hans, 
you'll never get through with a piece like that; but never 
mind, chick, thou'st had a long fasting; here, Gretel, take 
another slice of the sausage, it'll put blood in your cheeks." 

"Oh! Oh! mother," laughed Gretel, eagerly holding forth 
her platter, "blood don't grow in girls' cheeks you mean 
roses isn't it roses, Hans?" 

While Hans was hastily swallowing a mammoth mouthful 
in order to give a suitable reply to this poetic appeal, Dame 
Brinker settled the matter with a quick: 

"Well, roses or blood, it's all one to me, so the red finds 
its way on your sunny face. It's enough for mother to get 
pale and weary -looking, without " 

"Hoot, vrouw," spoke up Raff hastily, "thou'rt fresher 
and rosier this minute than both our chicks put together." 

This remark, though not bearing very strong testimony 
to the clearness of Raff's newly awakened intellect, neverthe- 
less afforded the dame intense satisfaction; the meal ac- 
cordingly passed off in the most delightful manner. 

After dinner the affair of the watch was talked over, and 
the mysterious initials duly discussed. 

Hans had just pushed back his stool, intending to start 
at once for Mynheer van Holp's, and his mother had risen 
to put the watch away in its old hiding place, when they 

heard the sound of wheels upon the frozen ground. 

[299] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

Some one knocked at the door, opening it at the same 
time. 

"Come in," stammered Dame Brinker, hastily trying to 
hide the watch in her bosom. "Oh! is it you, mynheer? 
Good day, the father is nearly well, as you see. It's a poor 
place to greet you in, mynheer, and the dinner not cleared 
away.' 

Dr. Boekman scarcely noticed the dame's apology. He 
was evidently in haste. 

"Ahem!" he exclaimed, "not needed here, I perceive. 
The patient is mending fast." 

"Well he may, mynheer," cried the dame, "for only last 
night we found a thousand guilders that's been lost to us 
these ten years." 

Dr. Boekman opened his eyes. 

"Yes, mynheer," said Raff. "I bid the vrouw tell you, 
though it's to be held a secret among us, for I see you can 
keep your lips closed as well as any man." 

The doctor scowled. He never liked personal remarks. 

"Now, mynheer," continued Raff, "you can take your 
rightful pay. God knows you have earned it, if bringing such 
a poor tool back to the world and his family can be called a 
service. Tell the vrouw what's to pay, mynheer; she will 
hand out the sum right willingly." 

'Tut! tut!" said the doctor kindly, "say nothing about 
money. I can find plenty of such pay any time, but gratitude 
comes seldom. That boy's 'thank you,' ' he added, nodding 
sidewise towards Hans, "was pay enough for me." 

"Like enough ye have a boy of your own," said Dame 

[300] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

Brinker, quite delighted to see the great man becoming so 
sociable. 

Doctor Boekman's good-nature vanished at once. He 
gave a growl (at least, it seemed so to Gretel), but made no 
actual reply. 

"Do not think the vrouw meddlesome, mynheer," said 
Raff, "she has been sore touched of late about a lad whose 
folks have gone away, none know where; and I had a mes- 
sage for them from the young gentleman." 

'The name was Boomphoffen," said the dame eagerly, 
"Do you know aught of the family, mynheer?' 1 

The doctor's reply was brief and gruff. 

'Yes. A troublesome set. They went long since to 
America." 

"It might be, Raff," persisted Dame Brinker, timidly, 
''that the meester knows somebody in that country, though 
I'm told they are mostly savages over there. If he could 
get the watch to the Boomphoffens with the poor lad's mes- 
sage, it would be a most blessed thing." 

'Tut! vrouw, why pester the good meester and dying 
men and women wanting him everywhere? How do ye know 
ye have the true name?" 

"I'm sure of it," she replied. 'They had a son Lambert, 
and there's an L for Lambert and a B for Boomphoffen, on 
the back; though to be sure there's an odd J too, but the 
meester can look for himself." 

So saying, she drew forth the watch. 

"L. J. B.!" cried Doctor Boekman, springing toward 
her. 

[301] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

^Ylly attempt to describe the scene that followed ! I need 
only say that the lad's message was delivered to his father 
at last delivered while the great surgeon was sobbing like 
a little child. 

'Laurens! my Laurens, ' he cried, gazing with yearning 
eyes at the watch as he held it tenderly in his palm. "Ah, if 
I had but known sooner! Laurens, a homeless wanderer 
Great Heaven! he may be suffering, dying at this moment! 
Think! man, where is he? Where did my boy say the letter 
must be sent?' 

Raff shook his head sadly. 

'Think!" implored the doctor. Surely the memory so 
lately awakened through his aid could not refuse to serve 
him in a moment like this. 

"It is all gone, mynheer," sighed Raff. 

Hans, forgetting distinctions of rank and station, forget- 
ting everything but that his good friend was in trouble, threw 
his arms around the doctor's neck. 

"I can find your son, mynheer. If alive, he is somewhere. 
The earth is not so very large, I will devote every day of 
my life to the search. Mother can spare me, now. You are 
rich, mynheer; send me where you will." 

Gretel began to cry. It was right for Hans to go; but 
how could they ever live without him? 

Doctor Boekman made no reply, neither did he push 
Hans away. His eyes were fixed anxiously upon Raff Brinker. 
Suddenly he lifted the watch, and with trembling eagerness 
attempted to open it. Its stiffened spring yielded at last; 

[302] 




DM?K 



"It was his mother's picture," moaned the doctor. 



THE SILVER SKATES 

the case flew open, disclosing a watch-paper in the back bear- 
ing a group of blue forget-me-nots. Raff, seeing a shade of 
intense disappointment pass over the doctor's face, hastened 
to say: 

'There was something else in it, mynheer, but the young 
gentleman tore it out before he handed it to me. I saw him 
kiss it as he put it away." 

"It was his mother's picture," moaned the doctor, "she 
died when he was ten years old. Thank God! the boy had 
not forgotten. Both dead? It is impossible!" he cried, 
starting up. "My boy is alive. You shall hear his story. 
Laurens acted as my assistant. By mistake he portioned out 
the wrong medicine for one of my patients a deadly poison 
but it was never administered, for I discovered the error 
in time. The man died that day. I was detained with other 
bad cases until the next evening. When I reached home my 
boy was gone. Poor Laurens!" sobbed the doctor, breaking 
down completely, "never to hear from me through all these 
years. His message disregarded. Oh, what must he have 
suffered!" 

Dame Brinker ventured to speak. Anything was better 
than to see the meester cry. 

:< It is a mercy to know the young gentleman was inno- 
cent. Ah ! how he fretted ! Telling you, Raff, that his crime 
was like unto murder. It was sending the wrong physic he 
meant. Crime indeed! why our own Gretel might have done 
that! Like enough the poor young gentleman heard that the 
man was dead that's why he ran, mynheer. He said, you 

know, Raff, that he never could come back to Holland again, 

[303] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

unless, " she hesitated "Ah, your honor, ten years is a dreary 
time to be waiting to hear from- 

"His, vrouw!" said Raff sharply. 

"Waiting to hear," groaned the doctor, "and I, like a 
fool sitting stubbornly at home, thinking he had abandoned 
me. I never dreamed, Brinker, that the boy had discovered 
the mistake. I believed it was youthful folly ingratitude- 
love of adventure, that sent him away. My poor, poor 
Laurens!" 

"But you know all now, mynheer," whispered Hans. 
"You know he was innocent of wrong, that he loved you and 
his dead mother. We will find him. You shall see him 
again, dear meester." 

"God bless you!" said Dr. Boekman, seizing the boy's 
hand, "it may be as you say. I shall try I shall try and, 
Brinker, if ever the faintest gleam of recollection concerning 
him should come to you, you will send me word at once?' ; 

"Indeed we will!" cried all but Hans, whose silent prom- 
ise would have satisfied the doctor even had the others not 
spoken. 

"Your boy's eyes," he said, turning to Dame Brinker, 
"are strangely like my son's. The first time I met him it 
seemed that Laurens himself was looking at me." 

"Aye, mynheer," replied the mother proudly. "I have 
marked that you were much drawn to the child." 

For a few moments the meester seemed lost in thought; 
then, arousing himself, he spoke in a new voice: 

'Forgive me, Raff Brinker, for this tumult. Do not feel 

distressed on my account. I leave your house to-day a hap- 

[304] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

pier man than I have been for many a long year. Shall I 
take the watch?" 

"Certain you must, mynheer. It was your son's wish." 

"Even so," responded the doctor regarding his treasure 
with a queer frown, for his face could not throw off its bad 
habits in an hour "even so. And, now, I must be gone. 
No medicine is needed by my patient; only peace and cheer- 
fulness, and both are here in plenty. Heaven bless you, my 
good friends! I shall ever be grateful to you." 

"May Heaven bless you, too, mynheer, and may you soon 
find the dear young gentleman," said Dame Brinker earnestly, 
after hurriedly wiping her eyes upon the corner of her apron. 

Raff uttered a hearty "Amen!" and Gretel threw such a 
wistful, eager glance at the doctor, that he patted her head 
as he turned to leave the cottage. 

Hans went out also. 
'When I can serve you, mynheer, I am ready." 

'Very well, boy," replied Doctor Boekman with peculiar 
mildness. 'Tell them, within, to say nothing of what has 
just passed. Meantime, Hans, when you are with your 
father, watch his mood. You have tact. At any moment 
he may suddenly be able to tell us more." 
'Trust me for that, mynheer." 

"Good day, my boy!" cried the doctor, as he sprang into 
his stately coach. 

"Aha!" thought Hans, as it rolled away, "the meester 
has more life in him than I thought." 



[305] 



T 



XLIV 
THE RACE 

II IE Twentieth of December came at last, bringing 
with it the perfection of winter weather. All over 
the level landscape lay the warm sunlight. It tried 
its power on lake, canal and river; but the ice flashed defi- 
ance and showed no sign of melting. The very weather- 
cocks stood still to enjoy the sight. This gave the windmills 
a holiday. Nearly all the past week they had been whirling 
briskly; now, being rather out of breath, they rocked lazily 
in the clear, still air. Catch a windmill working when the 
weather-cocks have nothing to do! 

There was an end to grinding, crushing and sawing for 
that day. It was a good thing for the millers near Broek. 
Long before noon they concluded to take in their sails and 
go to the race. Everybody would be there already the north 
side of the frozen Y was bordered with eager spectators; the 
news of the great skating match had traveled far and wide. 
Men, w r omen, and children in holiday attire were flocking 
toward the spot. Some wore furs, and wintry cloaks or 
shawls; but many, consulting their feelings rather than the 
almanac, were dressed as for an October day. 

The site selected for the race was a faultless plain of ice 
near Amsterdam, on that great arm of the Zuider Zee which 
Dutchmen of course must call the Eye. The townspeople 
turned out in large numbers. Strangers in the city deemed 

[306] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

it a fine chance to see what was to be seen. Many a peasant 
from the northward had wisely chosen the Twentieth as the 
day for the next city-trading. It seemed that everybody, 
young and old, who had wheels, skates or feet at command, 
had hastened to the scene. 

There were the gentry in their coaches, dressed like Pari- 
sians, fresh from the Boulevards; Amsterdam children in 
charity uniforms; girls from the Roman Catholic orphan 
house, in sable gowns and white headbands; boys from the 
Burgher Asylum, with their black tights and short-skirted, 
harlequin coats.* There were old-fashioned gentlemen in 
cocked hats and velvet knee breeches; old-fashioned ladies, 
too, in stiff, quilted skirts and bodies of dazzling brocade. 
These were accompanied by servants bearing foot-stoves and 
cloaks. There were the peasant folk arrayed in every possible 
Dutch costume Shy young rustics in brazen buckles; simple 
village maidens concealing their flaxen hair under fillets of 
gold; women whose long, narrow aprons were stiff with em- 
broidery; women with short, corkscrew curls hanging over 
their foreheads; women with shaved heads and close-fitting 
caps, and women in striped skirts and windmill bonnets. 
Men in leather, in homespun, in velvet and broadcloth; burgh- 
ers in model European attire, and burghers in short jackets, 
wide trousers and steeple-crowned hats. 

* This is not said in derision. Both the girls and boys of this Institu- 
tion wear garments quartered in red and black, alternately. By making 
the dress thus conspicuous, the children are, in a measure, deterred from 
wrongdoing while going about the city. The Burgher Orphan Asylum 
affords a comfortable home to several hundred boys and girls. Holland 
is famous for its charitable institutions. 

[307] 



HANS BRINKKR; OR, 

Th<Mv \\riv beautiful Friesland girls in wooden shoes and 
coarse prt tic-outs, with solid gold crescents encircling their 
heads, finished at each temple with a golden rosette, and 
liuiig with lace a century old. Sonic wore necklaces, pen- 
dants and ear-rings of the purest gold. Many were content 
with gilt or even with brass, but it is not an uncommon thing 
for a Friesland woman to have all the family treasure in her 
head-gear. More than one rustic lass displayed the value of 
two thousand guilders upon her head that day. 

Scattered throughout the crowd were peasants from the 
Island of Marken, with sabots, black stockings, and the wid- 
est of breeches; also women from Marken with short blue 
petticoats and black jackets, gaily figured in front. They 
wore red sleeves, white aprons, and a cap like a bishop's 
mitre over their golden hair. 

The children often were as quaint and odd-looking as 
their elders. In short, one-third of the crowd seemed to have 
stepped bodily from a collection of Dutch paintings. 

Everywhere could be seen tall women and stumpy men, 
lively faced girls, and youths whose expression never changed 
from sunrise to sunset 

There seemed to be at least one specimen from every 
known town in Holland. There were Utrecht water-bearers, 
Gouda cheese makers, Delft pottery-men, Schiedam distillers, 
Amsterdam diamond-cutters, Rotterdam merchants, dried- 
up herring-packers, and two sleepy-eyed shepherds from 
Texel. Every man of them had his pipe and tobacco-pouch. 
Some carried what might be called the smoker's complete 
outfit a pipe, tobacco, a pricker with which to clean the 

[308] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

tube, a silver net for protecting the bowl and a box of the 
strongest of brimstone matches. 

A true Dutchman you must remember, is rarely without 
his pipe on any possible occasion. He may for a moment 
neglect to breathe, but when the pipe is forgotten, he must be 
dying, indeed. There were no such sad cases here. Wreaths 
of smoke were rising from every possible quarter. The more 
fantastic the smoke wreath, the more placid and solemn the 
smoker. 

Look at those boys and girls on stilts! That is a good 
idea. They can see over the heads of the tallest. It is strange 
to see those little bodies high in the air, carried about on 
mysterious legs. They have such a resolute look on their 
round faces, what wonder that nervous old gentlemen, with 
tender feet, wince and tremble while the long-legged little 
monsters stride past them. 

You will read in certain books that the Dutch are a quiet 
people so they are generally but listen: did ever you hear 
such a din? All made up of human voices no, the horses 
are helping somewhat, and the fiddles are squeaking piti- 
fully (how it must pain fiddles to be tuned!) but the mass of 
the sound comes from the great vox humana that belongs to 
a crowd. 

That queer little dwarf going about with a heavy basket, 
winding in and out among the people, helps not a little. You 
can hear his shrill cry above all the other sounds, "Pypen en 
tabac! Pypen en tabac!" 

Another, his big brother, though evidently some years 
younger, is selling doughnuts and bon-bons. He is calling on 

[309] 



HANS BRIXKER; OR, 

all pretty children far and near to come quickly or the cakes 
will 1)0 gone. 

Yon know quite a number among the spectators. High up 
in yonder pavilion, erected upon the border of the ice, are 
some persons whom you have seen very lately. In the centre 
is Madame van Gleck. It is her birthday, you remember; 
she has the post of honor. There is Mynheer van Gleck 
whose meerschaum has not really grown fast to his lips it 
only appears so. There are grandfather and grandmother 
whom you met at the St. Nicholas fete. All the children are 
with them. It is so mild they have brought even the baby. 
The poor little creature is swaddled very much after the 
manner of an Egyptian mummy, but it can crow with de- 
light, and when the band is playing, open and shut its ani- 
mated mittens in perfect time to the music. 

Grandfather, with his pipe and spectacles and fur-cap, 
makes quite a picture as he holds baby upon his knee. Perched 
high upon their canopied platforms, the party can see all 
that is going on. No wonder the ladies look complacently 
at the glassy ice; with a stove for a foot-stool one might 
sit cozily beside the North Pole. 

There is a gentleman with them who somewhat resembles 
St. Nicholas as he appeared to the young Van Glecks, on the 
fifth of December. But the saint had a flowing white beard; 
and his face is as smooth as a pippin. His saintship was larger 
around the body, too, and (between ourselves) he had a pair 
of thimbles in his mouth, which this gentleman certainly has 
not. It cannot be Saint Nicholas after all. 

Near by, in the next pavilion, sit the Van Holps with their 

[310] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

son and daughter (the Van Gends) from the Hague. Peter's 
sister is not one to forget her promises. She has brought 
bouquets of exquisite hot-house flowers for the winners. 

These pavilions, and there are others beside, have all 
been erected since daylight. That semicircular one, contain- 
ing Mynheer Korbes' family, is very pretty, and proves that 
the Hollanders are quite skilled at tent-making, but I like 
the Van Glecks' best the centre one striped red and white, 
and hung with evergreens. 

The one with the blue flags contains the musicians. Those 
pagoda-like affairs, decked with seashells and streamers of 
every possible hue, are the judges' stands, and those columns 
and flag-staffs upon the ice mark the limit of the racecourse. 
The two white columns twined with green, connected at the 
top by that long, floating strip of drapery, form the starting- 
point. Those flag-staffs, half a mile off, stand at each end 
of the boundary line, cut sufficiently deep to be distinct to 
the skaters, though not enough so to trip them when they 
turn to come back to the starting-point. 

The air is so clear it seems scarcely possible that the col- 
umns and flag-staffs are so far apart. Of course the judges' 
stands are but little nearer together. 

Half a mile on the ice, when the atmosphere is like this, 
is but a short distance after all, especially when fenced with 
a living chain of spectators. 

The music has commenced. How melody seems to enjoy 
itself in the open air ! The fiddles have forgotten their agony, 
and everything is harmonious. Until you look at the blue 

tent it seems that the music springs from the sunshine, it is 

[311] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

so boundless, so joyous. Only when you see the staid-faced 
musicians you realize the truth. 

Where are the racers? All assembled together near the 
while columns. It is a beautiful sight. Forty boys and girls 
in picturesque attire darting with electric swiftness in and out 
among each other, or sailing in pairs and triplets, beckoning, 
chatting, whispering in the fullness of youthful glee. 

A few careful ones are soberly tightening their straps; 
others halting on one leg, with flushed, eager faces, suddenly 
cross the suspected skate over their knee, give it an examining 
shake, and dart off again. One and all are possessed with 
the spirit of motion. They cannot stand still. Their skates 
are a part of them, and every runner seems bewitched. 

Holland is the place for skaters after all. Where else can 
nearly every boy and girl perform feats on the ice that would 
attract a crowd if seen on Central Park? Look at Ben! I 
did not see him before. He is really astonishing the natives; 
no easy thing to do in the Netherlands. Save your strength, 
Ben, you will need it soon. Now other boys are trying! Ben 
is surpassed already. Such jumping, such poising, such spin- 
ning, such india-rubber exploits generally! That boy with a 
red cap is the lion now; his back is a watch-spring, his body 
is cork no it is iron, or it would snap at that! He is a bird, 
a top, a rabbit, a corkscrew, a sprite, a fish-ball all in an in- 
stant. When you think he's erect he is down; and when 
you think he is down he is up. He drops his glove on the 
ice and turns a somersault as he picks it up. Without stop- 
ping, he snatches the cap from Jacob Foot's astonished head 
and claps it back again 'hind side before.' Lookers-on hurrah 

[312] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

and laugh. Foolish boy! It is Arctic weather under your 
feet, but more than temperate overhead. Big drops already 
are rolling down your forehead. Superb skater as you are, 
you may lose the race. 

A French traveler, standing with a note-book in his hand, 
sees our English friend, Ben, buy a doughnut of the dwarf's 
brother, and eat it. Thereupon he writes in his note-book 
that the Dutch take enormous mouthfuls, and universally are 
fond of potatoes boiled in molasses. 

There are some familiar faces near the white columns. 
Lambert, Ludwig, Peter and Carl are all there, cool and in 
good skating order. Hans is not far off. Evidently he is 
going to join in the race, for his skates are on the very pair 
that he sold for seven guilders! He had soon suspected that 
his fairy godmother was the mysterious 'friend' who bought 
them. This settled, he had boldly charged her with the deed, 
and she knowing well that all her little savings had been spent 
in the purchase, had not had the face to deny it. Through 
the fairy godmother, too, he had been rendered amply able 
to buy them back again. Therefore Hans is to be in the race. 
Carl is more indignant than ever about it, but as three other 
peasant boys have entered, Hans is not alone. 

Twenty boys and twenty girls. The latter by this time 
are standing in front, braced for the start, for they are to 
have the first "run." Hilda, Rychie and Katrinka are among 
them two or three bend hastily to give a last pull at their 
skate-straps. It is pretty to see them stamp, to be sure that 
all is firm. Hilda is speaking pleasantly to a graceful little 

creature in a red jacket and a new brown petticoat. Why, it 

[313] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

is (Jrelel! Wliat. a difference those pretty shoes make, and 
the skirt, and the new cap. Annie Bouman is there too. 
Kven Janzoon Kolp's sister has been admitted but Janzoon 
himself has been voted out by the directors, because he killed 
the stork, and only last summer was caught in the act of 
robbing a bird's nest, a legal offence in Holland. 

This Janzoon Kolp, you see, was- -There, I cannot tell 
the story just now. The race is about to commence. 

Twenty girls are formed in a line. The music has ceased. 

A man, whom we shall call The Crier, stands between the 
columns and the first judges' stand. He reads the rules in a 
loud voice: 

'THE GIRLS AND BOYS ARE TO RACE IN TURN, UNTIL ONE 
GIRL AND ONE BOY HAS BEATEN TWICE. THEY ARE TO START 
IN A LINE FROM THE UNITED COLUMNS SKATE TO THE FLAG- 
STAFF LINE, TURN, AND THEN COME BACK TO THE STARTING- 
POINT; THUS MAKING A MILE AT EACH RUN." 

A flag is waved from the judges' stand. Madame van 
Gleck rises in her pavilion. She leans forward with a white 
handkerchief in her hand. When she drops it, a bugler is to 
give the signal for them to start. 

The handkerchief is fluttering to the ground. Hark! 

They are off! 

No. Back again. Their line was not true in passing the 
judges' stand. 

The signal is repeated. 

Off again. No mistake this time. Whew ! how fast they go ! 

The multitude is quiet for an instant, absorbed in eager, 
breathless watching. 

[314] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

Cheers spring up along the line of spectators. Huzza! 
five girls are ahead. Who comes flying back from the boun- 
dary mark? We cannot tell. Something red, that is all. 
There is a blue spot flitting near it, and a dash of yellow nearer 
still. Spectators at this end of the line strain their eyes and 

wish they had taken their post nearer the flag-staff. 

The wave of cheers is coming back again. Now we can 

see! Katrinka is ahead! 

She passes the Van Holp pavilion. The next is Madame 
van Gleck's. That leaning figure gazing from it is a magnet. 
Hilda shoots past Katrinka, waving her hand to her mother 
as she passes. Two others are close now, whizzing on like 
arrows. What is that flash of red and gray? Hurrah, it is 
Gretel ! She too waves her hand, but toward no gay pavilion. 
The crowd is cheering, but she hears only her father's voice. 
"Well done, little Gretel!" Soon Katrinka, with a quick, 
merry laugh shoots past Hilda. The girl in yellow is gaining 
now. She passes them all, all except Gretel. The judges 
lean forward without seeming to lift their eyes from their 
watches. Cheer after cheer fills the air; the very columns 
seem rocking. Gretel has passed them. She has won. 

"GRETEL BRINKER ONE MILE!" -shouts the crier. 

The judges nod. They write something upon a tablet 
which each holds in his hand. 

While the girls are resting some crowding eagerly around 
our frightened little Gretel, some standing aside in high dis- 
dain the beys form in a line. 

Mynheer van Gleck drops the handkerchief this time. 

The buglers give a vigorous blast! 

[315] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

The boys have started. 

Half way already! Did ever you see the like? 

Three hundred legs flashing by in an instant. But there 
are only twenty boys. No matter, there were hundreds of 
legs I am sure! Where are they now? There is such a noise 
one gets bewildered. What are the people laughing at? Oh, 
at that fat boy in the rear. See him go! See him! He'll be 
down in an instant, no, he won't. I wonder if he knows he is 
;ill alone; the other boys are nearly at the boundary line. 
Yes, he knows it. He stops ! He wipes his hot face. He takes 
off his cap and looks about him. Better to give up with a 
good grace. He has made a hundred friends by that hearty, 
astonished laugh. Good Jacob Foot! 

The fine fellow is already among the spectators gazing as 
eagerly as the rest. 

A cloud of feathery ice flies from the heels of the skaters 
as they "bring to" and turn at the flag-staffs. 

Something black is coming now, one of the boys it is 
all we know. He has touched the vox humana stop of the 
crowd it fairly roars. Now they come nearer we can see the 
red cap. There's Ben there's Peter there's Hans ! 

Hans is ahead ! Young Madame Van Gend almost crushes 
the flowers in her hand; she had been quite sure that Peter 
would be first. Carl Schummel is next, then Ben, and the 
youth with the red cap. The others are pressing close. A 
tall figure darts from among them. He passes the red cap, he 
passes Ben, then Carl. Now it is an even race between him 
and Hans. Madame Van Gend catches her breath. 

It is Peter! He is ahead! Hans shoots past him. Hilda's 

[316] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

eyes fill with tears Peter must beat. Annie's eyes flash 
proudly. Gretel gazes with clasped hands four strokes more 
will take her brother to the columns. 

He is there! Yes, but so was young Schummel just a 
second before. At the last instant, Carl, gathering his pow- 
ers, had whizzed between them and passed the goal. 

"CARL SCHUMMEL ONE MILE!" shouts the crier. 

Soon Madame Van Gleck rises again. The falling hand- 
kerchief starts the bugle; and the bugle, using its voice as a 
bow string, shoots off twenty girls like so many arrows. 

It is a beautiful sight, but one has not long to look; before 
we can fairly distinguish them they are far in the distance. 
This time they are close upon one another; it is hard to say 
as they come speeding back from the flag-staff which will 
reach the columns first. There are new faces among the 
foremost eager, glowing faces, unnoticed before. Katrinka 
is there, and Hilda, but Gretel and Rychie are in the rear. 
Gretel is wavering, but when Rychie passes her, she starts 
forward afresh. Now they are nearly beside Katrinka. Hilda 
is still in advance, she is almost "home." She has not faltered 
since that bugle note sent her flying; like an arrow still she 
is speeding toward the goal. Cheer after cheer rises in the air. 
Peter is silent but his eyes shine like stars. " Huzza ! Huzza ! " 

The crier's voice is heard again. 

"HILDA VAN GLECK ONE MILE!" 

A loud murmur of approval runs through the crowd, 
catching the music in its course, till all seems one sound, 
with a glad rhythmic throbbing in its depths. When the 
flag waves all is still. 

[317] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

Once more the bugle blows a terrific blast. It sends off 
tlie hoys like chaff before the wind dark chaff, I admit, and 
in big pieces. 

It is whisked around at the flag-staff, driven faster yet by 
the cheers and shouts along the line. We begin to see what is 
coining. There are three boys in advance this time, and all 
abreast Hans, Peter and Lambert. Carl soon breaks the 
ranks, rushing through with a whiff! Fly Hans, fly Peter, 
don't let Carl beat again. Carl the bitter. Carl the insolent. 
Van Mounen is flagging, but you are strong as ever. Hans 
and Peter, Peter and Hans; which is foremost? We love 
them both. We scarcely care which is the fleeter. 

Hilda, Annie and Gretel, seated upon the long crimson 
bench, can remain quiet no longer. They spring to their 
feet so different, and yet one in eagerness. Hilda instantly 
reseats herself; none shall know how interested she is, none 
shall know how anxious, how filled with one hope. Shut your 
eyes then, Hilda hide your face rippling with joy. Peter 
has beaten. 

'PETER VAN HOLP ONE MILE!" calls the crier. 

The same buzz of excitement as before, while the judges 
take notes, the same throbbing of music through the din- 
but something is different. A little crowd presses close about 
some object, near the column. Carl has fallen. He is not 
hurt, though somewhat stunned. If he were less sullen he 
would find more sympathy in these warm young hearts. As 
it is they forget him as soon as he is fairly on his feet again. 

The girls are to skate their third mile. 

How resolute the little maidens look as they stand in a 

[318] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

line! Some are solemn with a sense of responsibility, some 
wear a smile half bashful, half provoked, but one air of deter- 
mination pervades them all. 

This third mile may decide the race. Still, if neither 
Gretel nor Hilda win, there is yet a chance among the rest 
for the Silver Skates. 

Each girl feels sure that this time she will accomplish 
the distance in one half the time. How they stamp to try 
their runners, how nervously they examine each strap how 
erect they stand at last, every eye upon Madame Van Gleck! 

The bugle thrills through them again. With quivering 
eagerness they spring forward, bending, but in perfect balance. 
Each flashing stroke seems longer than the last. 

Now they are skimming off in the distance. 

Again the eager straining of eyes again the shouts and 
cheering, again the thrill of excitement as, after a few mo- 
ments, four or five, in advance of the rest, come speeding 
back, nearer, nearer to the white columns. 

Who is first? Not Rychie, Katrinka, Annie, nor Hilda, 
nor the girl in yellow but Gretel Gretel, the fleetest sprite 
of a girl that ever skated. She was but playing in the earlier 
race, now she is in earnest, or rather something within her 
has determined to win. That lithe little form makes no 
effort; but it cannot stop not until the goal is passed! 

In vain the crier lifts his voice he cannot be heard. He 
has no news to tell it is already ringing through the crowd. 
Gretel has won the Silver Skates! 

Like a bird she has flown over the ice, like a bird she 
looks about her in a timid, startled way. She longs to dart 

[319] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

to the sheltered nook where her father and mother stand. 
But Hans is beside her the girls are crowding round. Hilda's 
kind, joyous voice breathes in her ear. From that hour, none 
will despise her. Goose-girl or not, Gretel stands acknowledged 
Queen of the Skaters! 

\Yith natural pride Hans turns to see if Peter Van Holp 
is witnessing his sister's triumph. Peter is not looking to- 
ward them at all. He is kneeling, bending his troubled face 
low, and working hastily at his skate-strap. Hans is beside 
him at once. 

"Are you in trouble, mynheer?' 

"Ah, Hans! that you? Yes, my fun is over. I tried to 
tighten my strap to make a new hole and this bothera- 
tion of a knife has cut it nearly in two.' 

"Mynheer," said Hans, at the same time pulling off a 
skate "you must use my strap!" 

''Not I, indeed, Hans Brinker," cried Peter, looking up, 
''though I thank you warmly. Go to your post, my friend, 
the bugle will sound in a minute." 

"Mynheer," pleaded Hans in a husky voice. 'You have 
called me your friend. Take this strap quick! There is 
not an instant to lose. I shall not skate this time indeed 
I am out of practice. Mynheer, you must take it" -and 
Hans, blind and deaf to any remonstrance, slipped his strap 
into Peter's skate and implored him to put it on. 

"Come, Peter!" cried Lambert, from the line, "we are 
waiting for you." 

'For madame's sake," pleaded Hans, "be quick. She is 
motioning to you to join the racers. There, the skate is al- 

[320] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

most on ; quick, mynheer, fasten it. I could not possibly win. 
The race lies between Master Schummel and yourself." 

'You are a noble fellow, Hans!" cried Peter, yielding at 
last. He sprang to his post just as the white handkerchief 
fell to the ground. The bugle sends forth its blast, loud, 
clear and ringing. 

Off go the boys ! 

"Mine Gott," cries a tough old fellow from Delft. "They 
beat everything, these Amsterdam youngsters. See them!" 

See them, indeed! They are winged Mercuries, every one 
of them. What mad errand are they on? Ah, I know; they 
are hunting Peter Van Holp. He is some fleet-footed runaway 
from Olympus. Mercury and his troop of winged cousins 
are in full chase. They will catch him! Now Carl is the 
runaway the pursuit grows furious Ben is foremost! 

The chase turns in a cloud of mist. It is coming this 
way. Who is hunted now? Mercury himself. It is Peter, 
Peter Van Holp; fly, Peter Hans is watching you. He is 
sending all his fleetness, all his strength into your feet. Your 
mother and sister are pale with eagerness. Hilda is trembling 
and dare not look up. Fly, Peter! the crowd has not gone 
deranged, it is only cheering. The pursuers are close upon 
you! Touch the white column! It beckons it is reeling 
before you it 

Huzza ! Huzza ! Peter has won the Silver Skates ! 

"PETER VAN HOLP!" shouted the crier. But who heard 
him? "Peter Van Holp!" shouted a hundred voices, for he 
was the favorite boy of the place. Huzza! Huzza! 

Now the music was resolved to be heard. It struck up a 

[321] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

lively air, then a tremendous march. The spectators, think- 
ing something new was about to happen, deigned to listen 
and to look. 

The racers formed in single file. Peter, being tallest, 
stood first. Gretel, the smallest of all, took her place at the 
end. Hans, who had borrowed a strap from the cake-boy, 
was near the head. 

Three gaily twined arches were placed at intervals upon 
the river facing the Van Gleck pavilion. 

Skating slowly, and in perfect time to the music, the boys 
and girls moved forward, led on by Peter. It was beautiful 
to see the bright procession glide along like a living creature. 
It curved and doubled, and drew its graceful length in and 
out among the arches whichever way Peter the head went, 
the body was sure to follow'. Sometimes it steered direct for 
the centre arch, then, as if seized w r ith a new impulse, turned 
away and curled itself about the first one; then unwound 
slowly and bending low, with quick, snake-like curvings, 
crossed the river, passing at length through the furthest arch. 

When the music was slow, the procession seemed to crawl 
like a thing afraid; it grew livelier, and the creature darted 
forward with a spring, gliding rapidly among the arches, in 
and out, curling, twisting, turning, never losing form until, 
at the shrill call of the bugle rising above the music, it sud- 
denly resolved itself into boys and girls standing in double 
semi-circle before Madame Van Gleck's pavilion. 

Peter and Gretel stand in the centre in advance of the 
others. Madame Van Gleck rises majestically. Gretel trem- 
bles, but feels that she must look at the beautiful lady. She 

[322] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

cannot hear what is said, there is such a buzzing all around 
her. She is thinking that she ought to try and make a cour- 
tesy, such as her mother makes to the meester, when suddenly 
something so dazzling is placed in her hand that she gives a 
cry of joy. 

Then she ventures to look about her. Peter, too, has 
something in his hands "Oh! oh! how splendid!" she cries, 
and s oh! how splendid!' is echoed as far as people can see. 

Meantime the silver skates flash in the sunshine, throw- 
ing dashes of light upon those two happy faces. 

Mevrouw Van Gend sends a little messenger with her 
bouquets. One for Hilda, one for Carl, and others for Peter 
and Gretel. 

At sight of the flowers the Queen of the Skaters becomes 
uncontrollable. With a bright stare of gratitude she gathers 
skates and bouquet in her apron hugs them to her bosom, 
and darts off to search for her father and mother in the scat- 
tering crowd. 



[523] 



XLV 
JOY IN THE COTTAGE 

PERHAPS you were surprised to learn that Raff and 
his vrouw were at the skating-race; you would have 
been more so had you been with them on the even- 
ing of that merry 20th of December. To see the Brinker 
cottage standing sulkily alone on the frozen marsh, with its 
bulgy, rheumatic-looking walls, and its slouched hat of a 
roof pulled far over its eyes, one would never suspect that a 
lively scene was passing within. Without, nothing was left 
of the day but a low line of blaze at the horizon. A few ven- 
turesome clouds had already taken fire, and others, with their 
edges burning, were lost in the gathering smoke. 

A stray gleam of sunshine slipping down from the willow 
stump crept stealthily under the cottage. It seemed to feel 
that the inmates would give it welcome if it could only get 
near them. The room under which it hid was as clean as 
clean could be. The very cracks in the rafters were polished. 
Delicious odors filled the air. A huge peat fire upon the 
hearth sent flashes of harmless lightning at the sombre walls. 
It played in turn upon the great leathern Bible, upon Gretel's 
closet-bed, the household things on their pegs, and the beauti- 
ful Silver Skates and the flowers upon the table. Dame 
Brinker's honest face shone and twinkled in the changing light. 
Gretel and Hans, with arms entwined, were leaning against 
the fireplace, laughing merrily, and Raff Brinker was dancing! 

[324] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

I do not mean that he was pirouetting or cutting a pigeon- 
wing, either of which would have been entirely too undigni- 
fied for the father of a family; I simply affirm that while 
they were chatting pleasantly together Raff suddenly sprang 
from his seat, snapped his fingers and performed two or three 
flourishes very much like the climax of a Highland Fling. 
Next he caught his vrouw in his arms and fairly lifted her 
from the ground in his delight. 

"Huzza!" he cried, "I have it! I have it! It's THOMAS 
HIGGS. That's the name! It came upon me like a flash, 
write it down, lad, write it down!" 

Some one knocked at the door. 

"It's the meester," cried the delighted dame, "Goede 
Gunst! how things come to pass!" 

Mother and children came in merry collision as they 
rushed to open the door. 

It was not the doctor, after all, but three boys, Peter Van 
Holp, Lambert and Ben. 

"Good evening, young gentlemen," said Dame Brinker, 
so happy and proud that she would scarce have been surprised 
at a visit from the King himself. 

"Good evening, jufvrouw," said the trio, making magnif- 
icent bows. 

"Dear me!" thought Dame Brinker, as she bobbed up 
and down like a churn dasher, "it's lucky I learned to curtesy 
at Heidelberg!" 

Raff was content to return the boys' salutations with a 
respectful nod. 

"Pray be seated, young masters," said the dame, as Gretel 

[325] 



HANS B JUNKER; OR, 

l>.'i>lifully thrust a stool toward them. 'There's a lack of 
chairs, as you see, but this one by the fire is at your service, 
and if you don't mind the hardness, that oak-chest is as good 
a seat as the best. That's right, Hans, pull it out." 

By the time the boys were seated to the Dame's satis- 
faction, Peter, acting as spokesman, had explained that they 
were going to attend a lecture at Amsterdam, and had stopped 
on the way to return Hans' strap. 

"Oh, mynheer," cried Hans, earnestly, "It is too much 
trouble. I am very sorry." 

'No trouble at all, Hans, I could have waited for you 
to come to your work to-morrow, had I not wished to call. 
And, Hans, talking of your work, my father is much pleased 
with it; a carver by trade could not have done it better. 
He would like to have the south arbor ornamented also, but 
I told him you were going to school again." 

"Aye!" put in Raff Brinker, emphatically, "Hans must 
go to school at once and Gretel as well that is true." 

''I am glad to hear you say so," responded Peter, turning 
toward the father, "and very glad to know that you are again 
a well man." 

'Yes, young master, a well man, and able to work as 
steady as ever thank God!" 

[Here Hans hastily wrote something on the edge of a 
time-worn almanac that hung by the chimney -place.] "Aye, 
that's right, lad, set it down. Figgs! Wiggs! Alack! Alack!" 
added Raff in great dismay, "it's gone again!" 

"All right, father," said Hans, "the name's down now 
in black and white. Here, look at it, father; mayhap the 

[326] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

rest will come to you. If we had the place as well, it 
would be complete;" then turning to Peter, he said in 
a low tone, "I have an important errand in town, mynheer, 

and if " 

'Wist!" exclaimed the Dame, lifting her hands, "not to 
Amsterdam to-night, and you've owned your legs were ach- 
ing under you. Nay, nay it'll be soon enough to go at early 
daylight." 

"Daylight indeed!" echoed Raff, "that would never do. 
Nay, Meitje, he must go this hour." 

The vrouw looked for an instant as if Raff's recovery was 
becoming rather a doubtful benefit; her word was no longer 
sole law in the house. Fortunately, the proverb, "Humble 
wife is husband's boss," had taken deep root in her mind; 
even as the dame pondered, it bloomed. 

'Very well, Raff," she said smilingly, "it is thy boy 
as well as mine. Ah! I've a troublesome house, young 
masters." 

Just then Peter drew a long strap from his pocket- 

Handing it to Hans, he said in an undertone, "I need not 
thank you for lending me this, Hans Brinker. Such boys as 
you do not ask for thanks but I must say you did me a great 
kindness, and I am proud to acknowledge it. I did not know," 
he added, laughingly, "until fairly in the race, how anxious 
I was to win." 

Hans was glad to join in Peter's laugh it covered his 
embarrassment and gave his face a chance to cool off a little. 
Honest, generous boys like Hans have such a stupid way of 
blushing when you least expect it. 

[327] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

"It was nothing, mynheer," said the Dame, hastening to 
her son's relief, "the lad's whole soul was in having you win 
the race, I know it was!" 

This helped matters beautifully. 

"Ah, mynheer," Hans hurried to say, "from the first 
start I felt stiff and strange on my feet; I was well out of it 
so long as I had no chance of winning." 

Peter looked rather distressed. 

"We may hold different opinions there. That part of the 
business troubles me. It is too late to mend it now, but it 
would be really a kindness to me if 

The rest of Peter's speech was uttered so confidentially 
that I cannot record it. Enough to say, Hans soon started 
back in dismay, and Peter, looking very much ashamed, 
stammered out something to the effect that he would keep 
them, since he won the race, but it was "all wrong." 

Here van Mounen coughed, as if to remind Peter that 
lecture-hour was approaching fast. At the same moment 
Ben laid something upon the table. 

"Ah," exclaimed Peter, "I forgot my other errand. Your 
sister ran off so quickly to-day that Madame van Gleck 
had no opportunity to give her the case for her skates." 

"S-s-t!" said Dame Brinker, shaking her head reproach- 
fully at Gretel, " she was a very rude girl, I'm sure." [Secretly, 
she was thinking that very few women had such a fine little 
daughter.] 

"No, indeed," laughed Peter, "she did exactly the right 
thing ran home with her richly won treasures who would 
not? Don't let us detain you, Hans," he continued, turning 

[328] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

around as he spoke; but Hans, who was eagerly watching 
the father, seemed to have forgotten their presence. 

Meantime Raff, lost in thought, was repeating under his 
breath, "Thomas Higgs Thomas Higgs, aye, that's the name. 
Alack! if I could but tell the place as well." 

The skate-case was elegantly made of crimson morocco, 
ornamented with silver. If a fairy had breathed upon its 
tiny key, or Jack Frost himself designed its delicate tracery, 
they could not have been more daintily beautiful. FOR THE 
FLEETEST was written upon the cover in sparkling letters. 
It was lined with velvet, and in one corner was stamped the 
name and address of the maker. 

Gretel thanked Peter in her own simple way; then, being 
quite delighted and confused, and not knowing what else to 
do, lifted the case, carefully examining it in every part. "It's 
made by Mynheer Birmingham," she said, after a while, still 
blushing and holding it before her eyes. 

"Birmingham!" replied Lambert van Mounen, ''that's 
the name of a place in England. Let me see it." 

"Ha! ha!" he laughed, holding the open case toward the 
firelight; "no wonder you thought so; but it's a slight mis- 
take. The case was made at Birmingham, but the maker's 
name is in smaller letters. Humph! they're so small, I 
can't read them." 

Let me try," said Peter, leaning over his shoulder, 
why, man, it's perfectly distinct. It's T H it's T 

"Well!" exclaimed Lambert, triumphantly, "if you can 
read it so easily, let's hear it, T H what?" 

"T H T H Oh! why, Thomas Higgs, to be sure;" 

[329] 



et 
ts 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

replied Peter, pleased to be able to decipher it at last. Then, 
feeling they had been behaving rather unceremoniously, he 
turned toward Hans- 
Peter turned pale! What was the matter with the people? 
Raff and Hans had started up, and were staring at him in 
glad amazement. Gretel looked wild. Dame Brinker, with 
an unlighted candle in her hand, was rushing about the room, 
crying, "Hans! Hans! where's your hat? Oh, the meester! 
Oh, the meester!" 

"Birmingham! Higgs!" exclaimed Hans. "Did you say 
Higgs? we've found him! I must be off." 

"You see, young masters," panted the dame, at the same 
time snatching Hans' hat from the bed, "you see we know 
him he's our no, he isn't I mean oh, Hans, you must go 
to Amsterdam this minute!" 

"Good-night, mynheers," panted Hans, radiant with sud- 
den joy, "good-night you will excuse me, I must go. Bir- 
mingham Higgs Higgs Birmingham," and seizing his hat 
from his mother, and his skates from Gretel, he rushed from 
the cottage. 

What could the boys think, but that the entire Brinker 
family had suddenly gone crazy! 

They bade an embarrassed "good-evening," and turned to 
go. But Raff stopped them. 

'This Thomas Higgs, young masters, is a a person." 

"Ah!" exclaimed Peter, quite sure that Raff was the 
most crazy of all. 

'Yes a person a ahem! a friend. We thought him 
dead. I hope it is the same man. In England, did you say?' 

[330] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

'Yes, Birmingham," answered Peter, "it must be Bir- 
mingham in England." 

"I know the man," said Ben, addressing Lambert. "His 
factory is not four miles from our place a queer fellow still 
as an oyster don't seem at all like an Englishman. I've 
often seen him a solemn-looking chap, with magnificent 
eyes. He made a beautiful writing-case once for me to give 
Jenny on her birthday makes pocket-books, telescope-cases, 
and all kinds of leather work." 

As this was said in English, van Mounen of course trans- 
lated it for the benefit of all concerned, noticing meanwhile 
that neither Raff nor his vrouw looked very miserable, though 
Raff was trembling, and the dame's eyes were swimming with 
tears. 

You may believe the doctor heard every word of the story, 
when later in the evening he came driving back with Hans. 
'The three young gentlemen had been gone some time," 
Dame Brinker said, "but like enough, by hurrying, it would 
be easy to find them coming out from the Lecture, wherever 
that was." 

'True," said Raff, nodding his head, '''the vrouw always 
hits upon the right thing. It would be well to see the young 
English gentleman, mynheer, before he forgets all about 
Thomas Higgs it's a slippery name, d'ye see? one can't 
hold it safe a minute. It come upon me sudden and strong 
as a pile-driver, and my boy writ it down. Aye, mynheer, 
I'd haste to talk with the English lad; he's seen your son 
many a time only to think on't!" 

Dame Brinker took up the thread of the discourse. 

[331] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

'You'll pick out the lad quick enough, mynheer, because 
he's in company with Master Peter van Holp; and his hair 
curls all up over his forehead like foreign folk's, and, if you 
hear him speak, he talks kind of big and fast, only it's Eng- 
lish; but that wouldn't be any hindrance to your honor." 

The doctor had already lifted his hat to go. With a 
beaming face, he muttered something about it's being just 
like the young scamp to give himself a rascally English name; 
called Hans "my son" thereby making that young gentle- 
man happy as a lord and left the cottage with very little 
ceremony, considering what a great meester he was. 

The grumbling coachman comforted himself by speaking 
his mind as he drove back to Amsterdam. Since the doctor 
was safely stowed away in the coach, and could not hear a 
word, it was a fine time to say terrible things of folks who 
hadn't no manner of feeling for nobody, and who were always 
wanting the horses a dozen times of a night. 



[332] 



XLVI 
MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE OF THOMAS HIGGS 

HIGGS' factory was a mine of delight for the gossips 
of Birmingham. It was a small building, but quite 
large enough to hold a mystery. Who the proprietor 
was, or where he came from, none could tell. He looked like 
a gentleman that was certain though everybody knew he 
had risen from an apprenticeship; and he could handle his 
pen like a writing-master. 

Years ago he had suddenly appeared in the place a lad 
of eighteen learned his trade faithfully, and risen in the con- 
fidence of his employer been taken in as a partner soon after 
his time was up and, finally, when old Willett died, had 
assumed the business on his own hands. This was all that 
was known of his affairs. 

It was a common remark among some of the good people 
that he never had a word to say to a Christian soul; while 
others declared that, though he spoke beautiful when he 
chose to, there was something wrong in his accent. A tidy 
man, too, they called him, all but for having that scandalous 
green pond alongside of his factory, which wasn't deep enough 
for an eel, and was "just a fever-nest, as sure as you live." 

His nationality was a great puzzle. The English name 
spoke plain enough for one side of his house, but of what 
manner of nation was his mother? If she'd been an American, 

he'd certain have had high cheek bones and reddish skin; 

[333] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

if a German, he would have known the language, and Squire 
Smith declared he didn't; if French (and his having that 
frog-pond made it seem likely), it would come out in his 
speech. No there was nothing he could be but Dutch. And, 
strangest of all, though the man always pricked up his ears 
when you talked of Holland, he didn't seem to know the first 
thing about the country when you put him to the point. 

Anyhow, as no letters ever came to him from his mother's 
family in Holland, and as nobody living had ever seen old 
Higgs, the family couldn't be anything much. Probably 
Thomas Higgs himself was no better than he should be, 
for all he pretended to carry himself so straight; and for 
their parts, the gossips declared, they were not going to trouble 
their heads about him. Consequently Thomas Higgs and his 
affairs were never-failing subjects of discussion. 

Picture, then, the consternation, among all the good people, 
when it was announced by * somebody who was there and 
ought to know,' that the post-boy had that very morning 
handed Higgs a foreign-looking letter, and the man had 
: ' turned as white as the wall; rushed to his factory, talked 
a bit with one of the head workmen, and without bidding a 
creature good-bye, was off bag and baggage before you could 
wink, ma'am." Mistress Scrubbs, his landlady, was in deep 
affliction. The dear soul became quite out of breath while 
speaking of him "to leave lodgin's in that suddent way 
without never so much as a day's warnin' which was what 
every woman who didn't wish to be trodden under foot, 
which thank Hewing wasn't her way, had a perfect right to 
expect; yes, and a week's warnin' now you mention it, and 

[334] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

without even so much as sayin' many thanks to you, Mistress 
Scrubbs, for all past kindnesses which was most numerous 
though she said it who shouldn't say it leastwise she wasn't 
never no kind of a person to be lookin' for thanks every 
minnit it was really scanderlous, though to be sure Mister 
'iggs paid up everythin' to the last f arthin' and it fairly brought 
tears to her eyes to see his dear empty boots lyin' there in the 
corner of his room, which alone showed trouble of mind for 
he always stood 'em up straight as solgers though bein' half- 
soled twise they hadn't of course been worth takin' away." 

Whereupon her dearest friend, Miss Scrumpkins, ran home 
to tell all about it. And, as everybody knew the Scrump- 
kinses, a shining gossamer of news was soon woven from one 
end of the street to the other. 

An investigating committee met, that evening, at Mrs. 
Snigham's sitting, in secret session, over her best china. 
Though invited only to a quiet 'tea,' the amount of judicial 
business they transacted on the occasion was prodigious. 
The biscuits were actually cold before the committee had a 
chance to eat anything. There was so much to talk over 
and it was so important that it should be firmly established 
that each member had always been "certain sure that some- 
thing extraordinary would be happening to that man yet," 
that it was near eight o'clock before Mrs. Snigham gave any- 
body a second cup. 



[335] 



XL VII 
BROAD SUNSHINE 

ONE snowy day in January, Laurens Boekman went 
with his father to pay his respects to the Brinker 
family. 

Raff was resting after the labors of the day; Gretel, 
having filled and lighted his pipe, was brushing every speck 
of ash from the hearth; the dame was spinning; and Hans, 
perched upon a stool by the window, was diligently studying 
his lessons A peaceful, happy household whose main excite- 
ment during the past week had been the looking forward to 
this possible visit from Thomas Higgs. 

As soon as the grand presentation was over, Dame Brinker 
insisted upon giving her guests some hot tea; it was enough 
to freeze any one, she said, to be out in such crazy, blustering 
weather. While they were talking with her husband she 
whispered to Gretel that the young gentleman's eyes and her 
boy's were certainly as much alike as four beans, to say 
nothing of a way they both had of looking as if they were 
stupid and yet knew as much as a body's grandfather. 

Gretel was disappointed. She had looked forward to a 
tragic scene, such as Annie Bouman had often described to 
her, from story books ; and here was the gentleman who came 
so near being a murderer, who for ten years had been wan- 
dering over the face of the earth, who had believed himself 
deserted and scorned by his father the very young gentle- 

[336] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

man who had fled from his country in such magnificent trouble, 
sitting by the fire just as pleasant and natural as could be! 

To be sure his voice had trembled when he talked with 
her parents, and he had met his father's look with a bright 
kind of smile that would have suited a dragonkiller bringing 
the waters of perpetual youth to his king but after all he 
wasn't at all like the conquered hero in Annie's book. He did 
not say, lifting his hand toward Heaven, 'I hereby swear to 
be forever faithful to my home, my God and my country!' 
which would have been only right and proper under the cir- 
cumstances. 

All things considered, Gretel was disappointed. Raff, 
however, was perfectly satisfied. The message was delivered; 
Doctor Boekman had his son safe and sound; and the poor 
lad had done nothing sinful after all, except in thinking his 
father would have abandoned him for an accident. To be 
sure, the graceful stripling had become rather a heavy man 
Raff had unconsciously hoped to clasp that same boyish hand 
again but all things were changed to Raff, for that matter. 
So he pushed back every feeling but joy, as he saw father and 
son sitting side by side at his hearthstone. Meantime, Hans 
was wholly occupied in the thought of Thomas Higgs' happi- 
ness in being able to be the meester's assistant again; and 
Dame Brinker was sighing softly to herself, wishing that the 
lad's mother were alive to see him such a fine young gentle- 
man as he was; and wondering how Doctor Boekman could 
bear to see the silver watch getting so dull. He had worn 
it ever since Raff handed it over, that was evident. What 

had he done with the gold one he used to wear? 

[337] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

The light was shining full upon Doctor Boekman's face. 
How contented he looked; how much younger and brighter 
than formerly. The hard lines were quite melting away. He 
was laughing, as he said to the father, 

"Am I not a happy man, Raff Brinker? My son will 
sell out his factory this month, and open a warehouse in 
Amsterdam. I shall have all my spectacle-cases for nothing." 

Hans started from his reverie. "A warehouse, mynheer! 
and will Thomas Higgs I mean is your son not to be your 
assistant again?'' 

A shade passed over the meester's face, but he brightened 
with an effort, as he replied: 

"Oh, no, Laurens has had quite enough of that. He 
wishes to be a merchant." 

Hans appeared so surprised and disappointed that his 
friend asked good-naturedly: 

'Why so silent, boy? Is it any disgrace to be a mer- 
chant?" 

'N not a disgrace, mynheer," stammered Hans 
"but " 

"But what?" 

'Why, the other calling is so much better," answered 
Hans, "so much nobler. I think, mynheer," he added, 
kindling with enthusiasm, " that to be a surgeon, to cure the 
sick and crippled, to save human life, to be able to do what you 
have done for my father is the grandest thing on earth." 

The doctor was regarding him sternly. Hans felt rebuked. 
His cheeks were flushed; hot tears were gathering under his 
lashes. 

[338] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

"It is an ugly business, boy, this surgery," said the doctor, 
still frowning at Hans, "it requires great patience, self-denial 
and perseverance." 

"I am sure it does," cried Hans, kindling again. "It 
calls for wisdom, too, and a reverence for God's work. Ah, 
mynheer, it may have its trials and drawbacks but you do 
not mean what you say it is great and noble, not ugly! 
Pardon me, mynheer. It is not for me to speak so boldly." 

Doctor Boekman was evidently displeased. He turned 
his back on the boy, and conferred aside with Laurens. Mean- 
while the Dame scowled a terrible warning at Hans. These 
great people, she knew well enough, never like to hear poor 
folk speak up so pert. 

The meester turned around. 

"How old are you, Hans Brinker?" 

"Fifteen, mynheer," was the startled reply. 
'W T ould you like to become a physician?" 
'Yes, mynheer," answered Hans, quivering with excite- 
ment. 

'Would you be willing, with your parents' consent, to 
devote yourself to study, to go to the University and, in 
time, be a student in my office?" 

"YES, mynheer." 

'You would not grow restless, think you, and change 
your mind just as I had set my heart upon preparing you 
to be my successor?' 1 

Hans' eyes flashed. 

"No, mynheer, I would not change." 

'You may believe him, there," cried the dame, who could 

[339] 



HANS DRINKER; OR, 

remain quiet no longer, 'Hans is like a rock, when once he 
decides; and as for study, mynheer, the child has almost 
m-o\\n fast to his books of late. He can jumble off Latin 
already, like any priest !' : 

The doctor smiled. 'Well, Hans, I see nothing to prevent 
us from carrying out this plan if your father agrees." 

"Ahem," said Raff, too proud of his boy to be very meek, 
"the fact is, mynheer, I prefer an active, out-of-door life, 
myself. But if the lad's inclined to study for a meester, 
and he'd have the benefit of your good word to push him on 
in the world, it's all one to me. The money's all that's a 
wanting, but it mightn't be long, with two strong pair of 
arms to earn it, before we " 

"Tut! tut!" interrupted the doctor, "if I take your right 
hand man away, I must pay the cost, and glad enough will 
I be to do it. It will be like having two sons eh, Laurens? 
One a merchant and the other a surgeon I shall be the hap- 
piest man in Holland! Come to me in the morning, Hans, 
and we will arrange matters at once." 

Hans bowed assent. He dared not trust himself to speak. 

"And, Brinker," continued the doctor, "my son Laurens 
will need a trusty, ready man like you when he opens his 
warehouse in Amsterdam; some one to overlook matters, 
and see that the lazy clowns round about the place do their 

duty. Some one to Why don't you tell him yourself, 

you rascal!" 

This last was addressed to the son, and did not sound 
half as fierce as it looks in print. The rascal and Raff soon 
understood each other perfectly. 

[340] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

"I'm loath to leave the dykes," said the latter, after they 
had talked together awhile, '"'but you have made me such a 
good offer, mynheer, I'd be robbing my family if I let it go 
past me.'* 



Take a long look at Hans as he sits there staring gratefully 
at the meester, for you shall not see him again for many 
years. 

And Gretel Ah, what a vista of puzzling work suddenly 
opens before her! Yes, for dear Hans' sake she will study now. 
If he really is to be a meester, his sister must not shame his 
greatness. 

How faithfully those glancing eyes shall yet seek for the 
jewels that lie hidden in rocky schoolbooks! And how they 
shall yet brighten and droop at the coming of one whom 
she knows of now only as the boy who wore a red cap on 
that wonderful day when she found the Silver Skates in her 
apron ! 

But the doctor and Laurens are going. Dame Brinker is 
making her best courtesy. Raff stands beside her, looking 
every inch a man as he grasps the meester's hand. Through 
the open cottage door we can look out upon the level Dutch 
landscape all alive with the falling snow. 



[341] 



XL VIII 
CONCLUSION 

OUR story is nearly told. Time passes in Holland 
just as surely and steadily as here; in that respect 
no country is odd. 

To the Brinker family it has brought great changes Hans 
has spent the years faithfully and profitably, conquering 
obstacles as they arose, and pursuing one object with all the 
energy of his nature. If often the way has been rugged, his 
resolution has never failed. Sometimes he echoes, with his 
good old friend, the words said long ago in that little cottage 
near Broek: "Surgery is an ugly business;" but always in 
his heart of hearts lingers the echo of those truer words, 
'It is great and noble! it awakes a reverence for God's work!" 

Were you in Amsterdam to-day, you might see the famous 
Doctor Brinker riding in his grand coach to visit his patients; 
or, it might be, you would see him skating with his own boys 
and girls upon the frozen canal. For Annie Bouman, the 
beautiful, frank-hearted peasant girl, you would inquire in 
vain; but Annie Brinker, the vrouw of the great physician, 
is very like her only, as Hans says, she is even lovelier, 
wiser, more like a fairy godmother than ever. 

Peter van Holp also is a married man. I could have told 
you before that he and Hilda would join hands and glide 
through life together, just as years ago they skimmed side 
by side over the frozen, sunlit river. 

At one time I came near hinting that Katrinka and Carl 

[342] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, THE SILVER SKATES 

would join hands. It is fortunate now that the report was 
not started, for Katrinka changed her mind, and is single 
to this day. The lady is not quite so merry as formerly, and, 
I grieve to say, some of the tinkling bells are out of tune. 
But she is the life of her social circle still. I wish she would 
be in earnest, just for a little while, but no; it is not her 
nature. Her cares and sorrows do nothing more than dis- 
turb the tinkling; they never waken any deeper music. 

Rychie's soul has been stirred to its depths during these 
long years. Her history would tell how seed carelessly sown 
is sometimes reaped in anguish, and how a golden harvest 
may follow a painful planting. If I mistake not, you may be 
able to read the written record before long; that is, if you 
are familiar with the Dutch language. In the witty, but 
earnest author whose words are welcomed at this day in 
thousands of Holland homes, few could recognize the haughty, 
flippant Rychie who scoffed at little Gretel. 

Lambert van Mounen and Ludwig van Holp are good 
Christian men, and, what is more easily to be seen at a glance, 
thriving citizens. Both are dwellers in Amsterdam, but one 
clings to the old city of that name, and the other is a pilgrim 
to the new. Van Mounen's present home is not far from 
Central Park, and he says if the New Yorkers do their duty, 
the Park will, in time, equal his beautiful Bosch, near the 
Hague. He often thinks of the Katrinka of his boyhood, but 
he is glad now that Katrinka, the woman, sent him away; 
though it seemed at the time his darkest hour. Ben's sister 
Jennie has made him very happy, happier than he could 

have been with any one else in the wide world. 

[343] 



HANS BRINKER; OR, 

Carl Schummel has had a hard life. His father met with 
reverses in business; and as Carl had not many warm friends, 
and above all, was not sustained by noble principles, he has 
been tossed about by Fortune's battledore until his gayest 
feathers are nearly all knocked off. He is a bookkeeper in 
the thriving Amsterdam house of Boekman and Schimmel- 
penninck. Voosteiiwalbert, the junior partner, treats him 
kindly; and he, in turn, is very respectful to the "monkey 
with a long name for a tail." 

Of all our group of Holland friends, Jacob Foot is the only 
one who has passed away. Good-natured, true-hearted and 
unselfish to the last, he is mourned now as heartily as he 
was loved and laughed at while on earth. He grew to be very 
thin before he died; thinner than Benjamin Dobbs, who is 
now portliest among the portly. 

Raff Brinker and his vrouw have been living comfortably 
in Amsterdam for many years a faithful, happy pair; as 
simple and straightforward in their good fortune as they 
were patient and trustful in darker days. They have a zom- 
merhuis near the old cottage and thither they often repair 
with their children and grandchildren on the pleasant sum- 
mer afternoons when the pond-lilies rear their queenly heads 
above the water. 

The story of Hans Brinker would be but half told if we 
did not leave him with Gretel standing near. Dear, quick, 
patient little Gretel! What is she now? Ask old Doctor 
Boekman he will declare she is the finest singer, the loveliest 
woman in Amsterdam; ask Hans and Annie, they will assure 
you she is the dearest sister ever known; ask her husband, 

[344] 



THE SILVER SKATES 

he will tell you she is the brightest, sweetest little wife in 
Holland; ask Dame Brinker and Raff, their eyes will glisten 
with joyous tears; ask the poor, the air will be filled with 
blessings. 

But, lest you forget a tiny form trembling and sobbing 
on the mound before the Brinker cottage, ask the Van Glecks : 
they will never weary telling of the darling little girl who won 
The Silver Skates. 



CENTRAL CIRCULATION 
CHILDREN'S ROOM 



[845 








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